Introduction (separate file)

Table of Contents (separate file)

Evolution of Language

Mythology of the North American Indians

Wyandot Government

Limitations to the Use of some Anthropologic Data

Mortuary Customs (separate file)

Central American Picture Writing

Cessions of Land by Indian Tribes

Sign Language (separate file)

Catalogue of Linguistic Manuscripts

Recording Indian Languages

Index (separate file)











Process by combination Page 3
Process by vocalic mutation 5
Process by intonation 6
Process by placement 6
Differentiation of the parts of speech 8





Possible ideas and thoughts are vast in number. A distinct word for every distinct idea and thought would require a vast vocabulary. The problem in language is to express many ideas and thoughts with comparatively few words.

Again, in the evolution of any language, progress is from a condition where few ideas are expressed by a few words to a higher, where many ideas are expressed by the use of many words; but the number of all possible ideas or thoughts expressed is increased greatly out of proportion with the increase of the number of words.

And still again, in all of those languages which have been most thoroughly studied, and by inference in all languages, it appears that the few original words used in any language remain as the elements for the greater number finally used. In the evolution of a language the introduction of absolutely new material is a comparatively rare phenomenon. The old material is combined and modified in many ways to form the new.

How has the small stock of words found as the basis of a language been thus combined and modified?

The way in which the old materials have been used gives rise to what will here be denominated THE GRAMMATIC PROCESSES.


Two or more words may be united to form a new one, or to perform the office of a new one, and four methods or stages of combination may be noted.

a. By juxtaposition, where the two words are placed together and yet remain as distinct words. This method is illustrated in Chinese, where the words in the combination when taken alone seldom give a clew to their meaning when placed together.

b. By compounding, where two words are made into one, in which case the original elements of the new word remain in an unmodified condition, as in house-top, rain-bow, tell-tale.


c. By agglutination, in which case one or more of the elements entering into combination to form the new word is somewhat changed—the elements are fused together. Yet this modification is not so great as to essentially obscure the primitive words, as in truthful, where we easily recognize the original words truth and full; and holiday, in which holy and day are recognized.

d. By inflection. Here one or more of the elements entering into the compound has been so changed that it can scarcely be recognized. There is a constant tendency to economy in speech by which words are gradually shortened as they are spoken by generation after generation. In those words which are combinations of others there are certain elements that wear out more rapidly than others. Where some particular word is combined with many other different words the tendency to modify by wear this oft-used element is great. This is more especially the case where the combined word is used in certain categories of combinations, as where particular words are used to denote tense in the verb; thus, did may be used in combination with a verb to denote past time until it is worn down to the sound of d. The same wear occurs where particular words are used to form cases in nouns, and a variety of illustrations might be given. These categories constitute conjugations and declensions, and for convenience such combinations may be called paradigmatic. Then the oft-repeated elements of paradigmatic combinations are apt to become excessively worn and modified, so that the primitive words or themes to which they are attached seem to be but slightly changed by the addition. Under these circumstances combination is called inflection.

As a morphologic process, no well-defined plane of demarkation between these four methods of combination can be drawn, as one runs into another; but, in general, words may be said to be juxtaposed when two words being placed together the combination performs the function of a new word, while in form the two words remain separate.

Words may be said to be compound when two or more words are combined to form one, no change being made in either. Words maybe said to be agglutinated when the elementary words are changed but slightly, i.e., only to the extent that their original forms are not greatly obscured; and words may be said to be inflected when in the combination the oft-repeated element or formative part has been so changed that its origin is obscured. These inflections are used chiefly in the paradigmatic combinations.

In the preceding statement it has been assumed that there can be recognized, in these combinations of inflection, a theme or root, as it is sometimes called, and a formative element. The formative element is used with a great many different words to define or qualify them; that is, to indicate mode, tense, number, person, gender, etc., of verbs, nouns, and other parts of speech.

When in a language juxtaposition is the chief method of combination, 5 there may also be distinguished two kinds of elements, in some sense corresponding to themes and formative parts. The theme is a word the meaning of which is determined by the formative word placed by it; that is, the theme is a word having many radically different meanings; with which meaning it is to be understood is determined only by the formative word, which thus serves as its label. The ways in which the theme words are thus labeled by the formative word are very curious, but the subject cannot be entered into here.

When words are combined by compounding, the formative elements cannot so readily be distinguished from the theme; nor for the purposes under immediate consideration can compounding be well separated from agglutination.

When words are combined by agglutination, theme and formative part usually appear. The formative parts are affixes; and affixes may be divided into three classes, prefixes, suffixes, and infixes. These affixes are often called incorporated particles.

In those Indian languages where combination is chiefly by agglutination, that is, by the use of affixes, i.e., incorporated particles, certain parts of the conjugation of the verb, especially those which denote gender, number, and person, are effected by the use of article pronouns; but in those languages where article pronouns are not found the verbs are inflected to accomplish the same part of their conjugation. Perhaps, when we come more fully to study the formative elements in these more highly inflected languages, we may discover in such elements greatly modified, i.e., worn out, incorporated pronouns.


Here, in order to form a new word, one or more of the vowels of the old word are changed, as in man—men, where an e is substituted for a; ran—run, where u is substituted for a; lead—led, where e, with its proper sound, is substituted for ea with its proper sound. This method is used to a very limited extent in English. When the history of the words in which it occurs is studied it is discovered to be but an instance of the wearing out of the different elements of combined words; but in the Hebrew this method prevails to a very large extent, and scholars have not yet been able to discover its origin in combination as they have in English. It may or may not have been an original grammatic process, but because of its importance in certain languages it has been found necessary to deal with it as a distinct and original process.



In English, new words are not formed by this method, yet words are intoned for certain purposes, chiefly rhetorical. We use the rising intonation (or inflection, as it is usually called) to indicate that a question is asked, and various effects are given to speech by the various intonations of rhetoric. But this process is used in other languages to form new words with which to express new ideas. In Chinese eight distinct intonations are found, by the use of which one word may be made to express eight different ideas, or perhaps it is better to say that eight words may be made of one.


The place or position of a word may affect its significant use. Thus in English we say John struck James. By the position of those words to each other we know that John is the actor, and that James receives the action.

By the grammatic processes language is organized. Organization postulates the differentiation of organs and their combination into integers. The integers of language are sentences, and their organs are the parts of speech. Linguistic organization, then, consists in the differentiation of the parts of speech and the integration of the sentence. For example, let us take the words John, father, and love. John is the name of an individual; love is the name of a mental action, and father the name of a person. We put them together, John loves father, and they express a thought; John becomes a noun, and is the subject of the sentence; love becomes a verb, and is the predicant; father a noun, and is the object; and we now have an organized sentence. A sentence requires parts of speech, and parts of speech are such because they are used as the organic elements of a sentence.

The criteria of rank in languages are, first, grade of organization, i.e., the degree to which the grammatic processes and methods are specialized, and the parts of speech differentiated; second, sematologic content, that is, the body of thought which the language is competent to convey.

The grammatic processes may be used for three purposes:

First, for derivation, where a new word to express a new idea is made by combining two or more old words, or by changing the vowel of one word, or by changing the intonation of one word.


Second, for modification, a word may be qualified or defined by the processes of combination, vocalic mutation or intonation.

It should here be noted that the plane between derivation and qualification is not absolute.

Third, for relation. When words as signs of ideas are used together to express thought, the relation of the words must be expressed by some means. In English the relation of words is expressed both by placement and combination, i.e., inflection for agreement.

It should here be noted that paradigmatic inflections are used for two distinct purposes, qualification and relation. A word is qualified by inflection when the idea expressed by the inflection pertains to the idea expressed by the word inflected; thus a noun is qualified by inflection when its number and gender are expressed. A word is related by inflection when the office of the word in the sentence is pointed out thereby; thus, nouns are related by case inflections; verbs are related by inflections for gender, number, and person. All inflection for agreement is inflection for relation.

In English, three of the grammatic processes are highly specialized.

Combination is used chiefly for derivation, but to some slight extent for qualification and relation in the paradigmatic categories. But its use in this manner as compared with many other languages has almost disappeared.

Vocalic mutation is used to a very limited extent and only by accident, and can scarcely be said to belong to the English language.

Intonation is used as a grammatic process only to a limited extent—simply to assist in forming the interrogative and imperative modes. Its use here is almost rhetorical; in all other cases it is purely rhetorical.

Placement is largely used in the language, and is highly specialized, performing the office of exhibiting the relations of words to each other in the sentence; i.e., it is used chiefly for syntactic relation.

Thus one of the four processes does not belong to the English language; the others are highly specialized.

The purposes for which the processes are used are derivation, modification, and syntactic relation.

Derivation is accomplished by combination.

Modification is accomplished by the differentiation of adjectives and adverbs, as words, phrases, and clauses.

Syntactic relation is accomplished by placement. Syntactic relation must not be confounded with the relation expressed by prepositions. Syntactic relation is the relation of the parts of speech to each other as integral parts of a sentence. Prepositions express relations of thought of another order. They relate words to each other as words.

Placement relates words to each other as parts of speech.

In the Indian tongues combination is used for all three purposes, performing the three different functions of derivation, modification, and relation. 8 Placement, also, is used for relation, and for both lands of relation, syntactic and prepositional.

With regard, then, to the processes and purposes for which they are used, we find in the Indian languages a low degree of specialization; processes are used for diverse purposes, and purposes are accomplished by diverse processes.


It is next in order to consider to what degree the parts of speech are differentiated in Indian languages, as compared with English.

Indian nouns are extremely connotive, that is, the name does more than simply denote the thing to which it belongs; in denoting the object it also assigns to it some quality or characteristic. Every object has many qualities and characteristics, and by describing but a part of these the true office of the noun is but imperfectly performed. A strictly denotive name expresses no one quality or character, but embraces all qualities and characters.

In Ute the name for bear is he seizes, or the hugger. In this case the verb is used for the noun, and in so doing the Indian names the bear by predicating one of his characteristics. Thus noun and verb are undifferentiated. In Seneca the north is the sun never goes there, and this sentence may be used as adjective or noun; in such cases noun, adjective, verb, and adverb are found as one vocable or word, and the four parts of speech are undifferentiated. In the Pavänt language a school-house is called pó-kûnt-în-îñ-yî-kän. The first part of the word, pó-kûnt, signifies sorcery is practiced, and is the name given by the Indians to any writing, from the fact that when they first learned of writing they supposed it to be a method of practicing sorcery; în-îñ-yî is the verb signifying to count, and the meaning of the word has been extended so as to signify to read; kän signifies wigwam, and is derived from the verb küri, to stay. Thus the name of the school-house literally signifies a staying place where sorcery is counted, or where papers are read. The Pavänt in naming a school-house describes the purpose for which it is used. These examples illustrate the general characteristics of Indian nouns; they are excessively connotive; a simply denotive name is rarely found. In general their name-words predicate some attribute of the object named, and thus noun, adjective, and predicant are undifferentiated.

In many Indian languages there is no separate word for eye, hand, arm, or other parts and organs of the body, but the word is found with an incorporated or attached pronoun signifying my hand, my eye; your hand, your eye; his hand, his eye, etc., as the case may be. If the Indian, in naming these parts, refers to his own body, he says my; if he refers to 9 the body of the person to whom he is speaking, he says your, &c. If an Indian should find a detached foot thrown from the amputating-table of an army field hospital, he would say something like this: I have found somebody his foot. The linguistic characteristic is widely spread, though not universal.

Thus the Indian has no command of a fully differentiated noun expressive of eye, hand, arm, or other parts and organs of the body.

In the pronouns we often have the most difficult part of an Indian language. Pronouns are only to a limited extent independent words.

Among the free pronouns the student must early learn to distinguish between the personal and the demonstrative. The demonstrative pronouns are more commonly used. The Indian is more accustomed to say this person or thing, that person or thing, than he, she, or it. Among the free personal pronouns the student may find an equivalent of the pronoun I, another signifying I and you; perhaps another signifying I and he, and one signifying we, more than two, including the speaker and those present; and another including the speaker and persons absent. He will also find personal pronouns in the second and third person, perhaps with singular, dual, and plural forms.

To a large extent the pronouns are incorporated in the verbs as prefixes, infixes, or suffixes. In such cases we will call them article pronouns. These article pronouns point out with great particularity the person, number, and gender, both of subject and object, and sometimes of the indirect object. When the article pronouns are used the personal pronouns may or may not be used; but it is believed that the personal pronouns will always be found. Article pronouns may not always be found. In those languages which are characterized by them they are used alike when the subject and object nouns are expressed and when they are not. The student may at first find some difficulty with these article pronouns. Singular, dual, and plural forms will be found. Sometimes distinct incorporated particles will be used for subject and object, but often this will not be the case. If the subject only is expressed, one particle may be used; if the object only is expressed, another particle; but if subject and object are expressed an entirely different particle may stand for both.

But it is in the genders of these article pronouns that the greatest difficulty may be found. The student must entirely free his mind of the idea that gender is simply a distinction of sex. In Indian tongues, genders are usually methods of classification primarily into animate and inanimate. The animate may be again divided into male and female, but this is rarely the case. Often by these genders all objects are classified by characteristics found in their attitudes or supposed constitution. Thus we may have the animate and inanimate, one or both, divided into the standing, the sitting, and the lying; or they may be divided into the watery, the mushy, the earthy, the stony, the woody, and the fleshy. The gender of these article pronouns has rarely been worked out in any 10 language. The extent to which these classifications enter into the article pronouns is not well known. The subject requires more thorough study. These incorporated particles are here called article pronouns. In the conjugation of the verb they take an important part, and have by some writers been called transitions. Besides pointing out with particularity the person, number, and gender or the subject and object, they perform the same offices that are usually performed by those inflections of the verb that occur to make them agree in gender, number, and person with the subject. In those Indian languages where the article pronouns are not found, and the personal pronouns only are used, the verb is usually inflected to agree with the subject or object, or both, in the same particulars.

The article pronouns as they point out person, number, gender, and case of the subject and object, are not simple particles, but are to a greater or lesser extent compound; their component elements may be broken apart and placed in different parts of the verb. Again, the article pronoun in some languages may have its elements combined into a distinct word in such a manner that it will not be incorporated in the verb, but will be placed immediately before it. For this reason the term article pronoun has been chosen rather than attached pronoun. The older term, transition, was given to them because of their analogy in function to verbal inflections.

Thus the verb of an Indian language contains within itself incorporated article pronouns which point out with great particularity the gender, number, and person of the subject and object. In this manner verb, pronoun, and adjective are combined, and to this extent these parts of speech are undifferentiated.

In some languages the article pronoun constitutes a distinct word, but whether free or incorporated it is a complex tissue of adjectives.

Again, nouns sometimes contain particles within themselves to predicate possession, and to this extent nouns and verbs are undifferentiated.

The verb is relatively of much greater importance in an Indian tongue than in a civilized language. To a large extent the pronoun is incorporated in the verb as explained above, and thus constitutes a part of its conjugation.

Again, adjectives are used as intransitive verbs, as in most Indian languages there is no verb to be used as a predicant or copula. Where in English we would say the man is good, the Indian would say that man good, using the adjective as an intransitive verb, i.e., as a predicant. If he desired to affirm it in the past tense, the intransitive verb good, would be inflected, or otherwise modified, to indicate the tense; and so, in like manner, all adjectives when used to predicate can be modified to indicate mode, tense, number, person, &c., as other intransitive verbs.

Adverbs are used as intransitive verbs. In English we may say he is there; the Indian would say that person there usually preferring 11 the demonstrative to the personal pronoun. The adverb there would, therefore, be used as a predicant or intransitive verb, and might be conjugated to denote different modes, tenses, numbers, persons, etc. Verbs will often receive adverbial qualifications by the use of incorporated particles, and, still further, verbs may contain within themselves adverbial limitations without our being able to trace such meanings to any definite particles or parts of the verb.

Prepositions are intransitive verbs. In English we may say the hat is on the table; the Indian would say that hat on table; or he might change the order, and say that hat table on; but the preposition on would be used as an intransitive verb to predicate, and may be conjugated. Prepositions may often be found as particles incorporated in verbs, and, still further, verbs may contain within themselves prepositional meanings without our being able to trace such meanings to any definite particles within the verb. But the verb connotes such ideas that something is needed to complete its meaning, that something being a limiting or qualifying word, phrase, or clause. Prepositions may be prefixed, infixed, or suffixed to nouns, i.e., they may be particles incorporated in nouns.

Nouns may be used as intransitive verbs under the circumstances when in English we would use a noun as the complement of a sentence after the verb to be.

The verb, therefore, often includes within itself subject, direct object, indirect object, qualifier, and relation-idea. Thus it is that the study of an Indian language is, to a large extent, the study of its verbs.

Thus adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and nouns are used as intransitive verbs; and, to such extent, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, nouns and verbs are undifferentiated.

From the remarks above, it will be seen that Indian verbs often include within themselves meanings which in English are expressed by adverbs and adverbial phrases and clauses. Thus the verb may express within itself direction, manner, instrument, and purpose, one or all, as the verb to go may be represented by a word signifying go home; another, go away from home; another, go to a place other than home; another, go from a place other than home; one, go from this place, with reference to home; one, to go up; another, to go down; one, go around; and, perhaps, there will be a verb go up hill; another, go up a valley; another, go up a river, etc. Then we may have to go on foot, to go on horseback, to go in a canoe; still another, to go for water; another for wood, etc. Distinct words may be used for all these, or a fewer number used, and these varied by incorporated particles. In like manner, the English verb to break may be represented by several words, each of which will indicate the manner of performing the act or the instrument with which it is done. Distinct words may be used, or a common word varied with incorporated particles.

The verb to strike may be represented by several words, signifying 12 severally to strike with the fist, to strike with a club, to strike with the open hand, to strike with a whip, to strike with a switch, to strike with a flat instrument, etc. A common word may be used with incorporated particles or entirely different words used.

Mode in an Indian tongue is a rather difficult subject. Modes analogous to those of civilized tongues are found, and many conditions and qualifications appear in the verb which in English and other civilized languages appear as adverbs, and adverbial phrases and clauses. No plane of separation can be drawn between such adverbial qualifications and true modes. Thus there may be a form of the verb, which shows that the speaker makes a declaration as certain, i.e., an indicative mode; another which shows that the speaker makes a declaration with doubt, i.e., a dubitative mode; another that he makes a declaration on hearsay, i.e., a quotative mode; another form will be used in making a command, giving an imperative mode; another in imploration, i.e., an implorative mode; another form to denote permission, i.e., a permissive mode; another in negation, i.e., a negative mode; another form will be used to indicate that the action is simultaneous with some other action, i.e., a simulative mode; another to denote desire or wish that something be done, i.e., a desiderative mode; another that the action ought to be done, i.e., an obligative mode; another that action is repetitive from time to time, i.e., a frequentative mode; another that action is caused, i.e., a causative mode, etc.

These forms of the verb, which we are compelled to call modes, are of great number. Usually with each of them a particular modal particle or incorporated adverb will be used; but the particular particle which gives the qualified meaning may not always be discovered; and in one language a different word will be introduced, wherein another the same word will be used with an incorporated particle.

It is stated above that incorporated particles may be used to indicate direction, manner, instrument, and purpose; in fact, any adverbial qualification whatever may be made by an incorporated particle instead of an adverb as a distinct word.

No line of demarkation can be drawn between these adverbial particles and those mentioned above as modal particles. Indeed it seems best to treat all these forms of the verb arising from incorporated particles as distinct modes. In this sense, then, an Indian language has a multiplicity of modes. It should be further remarked that in many cases these modal or adverbial particles are excessively worn, so that they may appear as additions or changes of simple vowel or consonant sounds. When incorporated particles are thus used, distinct adverbial words, phrases, or clauses may also be employed, and the idea expressed twice.

In an Indian language it is usually found difficult to elaborate a system of tenses in paradigmatic form. Many tenses or time particles are found incorporated in verbs. Some of these time particles are excessively 13 worn, and may appear rather as inflections than as incorporated particles. Usually rather distinct present, past, and future tenses are discovered; often a remote or ancient past, and less often an immediate future. But great specification of time in relation to the present and in relation to other time is usually found.

It was seen above that adverbial particles cannot be separated from modal particles. In like manner tense particles cannot be separated from adverbial and modal particles.

In an Indian language adverbs are differentiated only to a limited extent. Adverbial qualifications are found in the verb, and thus there are a multiplicity of modes and tenses, and no plane of demarcation can be drawn between mode and tense. From preceding statements it will appear that a verb in an Indian tongue may have incorporated with it a great variety of particles, which can be arranged in three general classes, i.e., pronominal, adverbial, and prepositional.

The pronominal particles we have called article pronouns; they serve to point out a variety of characteristics in the subject, object, and indirect object of the verb. They thus subserve purposes which in English are subserved by differentiated adjectives as distinct parts of speech. They might, therefore, with some propriety, have been called adjective particles, but these elements perform another function; they serve the purpose which is usually called agreement in language; that is, they make the verb agree with the subject and object, and thus indicate the syntactic relation between subject, object, and verb. In this sense they might with propriety have been called relation particles, and doubtless this function was in mind when some of the older grammarians called them transitions.

The adverbial particles perform the functions of voice, mode, and tense, together with many other functions that are performed in languages spoken by more highly civilized people by differentiated adverbs, adverbial phrases, and clauses.

The prepositional particles perform the function of indicating a great variety of subordinate relations, like the prepositions used as distinct parts of speech in English.

By the demonstrative function of some of the pronominal particles, they are closely related to adverbial particles, and adverbial particles are closely related to prepositional particles, so that it will be sometimes difficult to say of a particular particle whether it be pronominal or adverbial, and of another particular particle whether it be adverbial or prepositional.

Thus the three classes of particles are not separated by absolute planes of demarkation.

The use of these particles as parts of the verb; the use of nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions as intransitive verbs; and the direct use of verbs as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, make the study of an Indian tongue to a large extent the study of its verbs.


To the extent that voice, mode, and tense are accomplished by the use of agglutinated particles or inflections, to that extent adverbs and verbs are undifferentiated.

To the extent that adverbs are found as incorporated particles in verbs, the two parts of speech are undifferentiated.

To the extent that prepositions are particles incorporated in the verb, prepositions and verbs are undifferentiated.

To the extent that prepositions are affixed to nouns, prepositions and nouns are undifferentiated.

In all these particulars it is seen that the Indian tongues belong to a very low type of organization. Various scholars have called attention to this feature by describing Indian languages as being holophrastic, polysynthetic, or synthetic. The term synthetic is perhaps the best, and may be used as synonymous with undifferentiated.

Indian tongues, therefore, may be said to be highly synthetic in that their parts of speech are imperfectly differentiated.

In these same particulars the English language is highly organized, as the parts of speech are highly differentiated. Yet the difference is one of degree, not of kind.

To the extent in the English language that inflection is used for qualification, as for person, number, and gender of the noun and pronoun, and for mode and tense in the verb, to that extent the parts of speech are undifferentiated. But we have seen that inflection is used for this purpose to a very slight extent.

There is yet in the English language one important differentiation which has been but partially accomplished. Verbs as usually considered are undifferentiated parts of speech; they are nouns and adjectives, one or both, and predicants. The predicant simple is a distinct part of speech. The English language has but one, the verb to be, and this is not always a pure predicant, for it sometimes contains within itself an adverbial element when it is conjugated for mode and tense, and a connective element when it is conjugated for agreement. With adjectives and nouns this verb is used as a predicant. In the passive voice also it is thus used, and the participles are nouns or adjectives. In what is sometimes called the progressive form of the active voice nouns and adjectives are differentiated in the participles, and the verb “to be” is used as a predicant. But in what is usually denominated the active voice of the verb, the English language has undifferentiated parts of speech. An examination of the history of the verb to be in the English language exhibits the fact that it is coming more and more to be used as the predicant; and what is usually called the common form of the active voice is coming more and more to be limited in its use to special significations.

The real active voice, indicative mode, present tense, first person, singular number, of the verb to eat, is am eating. The expression I eat, signifies I am accustomed to eat. So, if we consider the common form of 15 the active voice throughout its entire conjugation, we discover that many of its forms are limited to special uses.

Throughout the conjugation of the verb the auxiliaries are predicants, but these auxiliaries, to the extent that they are modified for mode, tense, number, and person, contain adverbial and connective elements.

In like manner many of the lexical elements of the English language contain more than one part of speech: To ascend is to go up; to descend is to go down; and to depart is to go from.

Thus it is seen that the English language is also synthetic in that its parts of speech are not completely differentiated. The English, then, differs in this respect from an Indian language only in degree.

In most Indian tongues no pure predicant has been differentiated, but in some the verb to be, or predicant, has been slightly developed, chiefly to affirm, existence in a place.

It will thus be seen that by the criterion of organization Indian tongues are of very low grade.

It need but to be affirmed that by the criterion of sematologic content Indian languages are of a very low grade. Therefore the frequently-expressed opinion that the languages of barbaric peoples have a more highly organized grammatic structure than the languages of civilized peoples has its complete refutation.

It is worthy of remark that all paradigmatic inflection in a civilized tongue is a relic of its barbaric condition. When the parts of speech are fully differentiated and the process of placement fully specialized, so that the order of words in sentences has its full significance, no useful purpose is subserved by inflection.

Economy in speech is the force by which its development has been accomplished, and it divides itself properly into economy of utterance and economy of thought. Economy of utterance has had to do with the phonic constitution of words; economy of thought has developed the sentence.

All paradigmatic inflection requires unnecessary thought. In the clause if he was here, if fully expresses the subjunctive condition, and it is quite unnecessary to express it a second time by using another form of the verb to be. And so the people who are using the English language are deciding, for the subjunctive form is rapidly becoming obsolete with the long list of paradigmatic forms which have disappeared.

Every time the pronoun he, she, or it is used it is necessary to think of the sex of its antecedent, though in its use there is no reason why sex should be expressed, say, one time in ten thousand. If one pronoun non-expressive of gender were used instead of the three, with three gender adjectives, then in nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine cases the speaker would be relieved of the necessity of an unnecessary thought, and in the one case an adjective would fully express it. But when these inflections are greatly multiplied, as they are in the Indian languages, alike with the Greek and Latin, the speaker is compelled in the 16 choice of a word to express his idea to think of a multiplicity of things which have no connection with that which he wishes to express.

A Ponka Indian, in saying that a man killed a rabbit, would have to say the man, he, one, animate, standing, in the nominative case, purposely killed, by shooting an arrow, the rabbit, he, the one, animate, sitting, in the objective case; for the form of a verb to kill would have to be selected, and the verb changes its form by inflection and incorporated particles to denote person, number, and gender as animate or inanimate, and gender as standing, sitting, or lying, and case; and the form of the verb would also express whether the killing was done accidentally or purposely, and whether it was by shooting or by some other process, and, if by shooting, whether by bow and arrow, or with a gun; and the form of the verb would in like manner have to express all of these things relating to the object; that is, the person, number, gender, and case of the object; and from the multiplicity of paradigmatic forms of the verb to kill this particular one would have to be selected. Perhaps one time in a million it would be the purpose to express all of these particulars, and in that case the Indian would have the whole expression in one compact word, but in the nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine cases all of these particulars would have to be thought of in the selection of the form of the verb, when no valuable purpose would be accomplished thereby.

In the development of the English, as well as the French and German, linguistic evolution has not been in vain.

Judged by these criteria, the English stands alone in the highest rank; but as a written language, in the way in which its alphabet is used, the English has but emerged from a barbaric condition.











The genesis of philosophy Page 19
Two grand stages of philosophy 21
Mythologic philosophy has four stages 29
Outgrowth from mythologic philosophy 33

The course of evolution in mythologic philosophy

Mythic tales 43

The Cĭn-aú-äv Brothers discuss matters of importance to the Utes

Origin of the echo 45
The So´-kûs Wai´-ûn-ats 47
Ta-vwots has a fight with the sun 52







The wonders of the course of nature have ever challenged attention. In savagery, in barbarism, and in civilization alike, the mind of man has sought the explanation of things. The movements of the heavenly bodies, the change of seasons, the succession of night and day, the powers of the air, majestic mountains, ever-flowing rivers, perennial springs, the flight of birds, the gliding of serpents, the growth of trees, the blooming of flowers, the forms of storm-carved rocks, the mysteries of life and death, the institutions of society—many are the things to be explained. The yearning to know is universal. How and why are everlasting interrogatories profoundly instinct in humanity. In the evolution of the human mind, the instinct of cosmic interrogation follows hard upon the instinct of self-preservation.

In all the operations of nature, man’s weal and woe are involved. A cold wave sweeps from the north—rivers and lakes are frozen, forests are buried under snows, and the fierce winds almost congeal the life-fluids of man himself, and indeed man’s sources of supply are buried under the rocks of water. At another time the heavens are as brass, and the clouds come and go with mockery of unfulfilled promises of rain, the fierce midsummer sun pours its beams upon the sands, and blasts heated in the furnace of the desert sear the vegetation; and the fruits, which in more congenial seasons are subsistence and luxury, shrivel before the eyes of famishing men. A river rages and destroys the adjacent valley with its flood. A mountain bursts forth with its rivers of fire, the land is buried and the people are swept away. Lightning shivers a tree and rends a skull. The silent, unseen powers of nature, too, are at work bringing pain or joy, health or sickness, life or death, to mankind. In like manner man’s welfare is involved in all the institutions of society. How and why are the questions asked about all these things—questions springing from the deepest instinct of self-preservation.


In all stages of savage, barbaric, and civilized inquiry, every question has found an answer, every how has had its thus, every why its because. The sum of the answers to the questions raised by any people constitute its philosophy; hence all peoples have had philosophies consisting of their accepted explanation of things. Such a philosophy must necessarily result from the primary instincts developed in man in the early progress of his differentiation from the beast. This I postulate: if demonstration is necessary, demonstration is at hand. Not only has every people a philosophy, but every stage of culture is characterized by its stage of philosophy. Philosophy has been unfolded with the evolution of the human understanding. The history of philosophy is the history of human opinions from the earlier to the later days—from the lower to the higher culture.

In the production of a philosophy, phenomena must be discerned, discriminated, classified. Discernment, discrimination, and classification are the processes by which a philosophy is developed. In studying the philosophy of a people at any stage of culture, to understand what such a people entertain as the sum of their knowledge, it is necessary that we should understand what phenomena they saw, heard, felt, discerned; what discriminations they made, and what resemblances they seized upon as a basis for the classification on which their explanations rested. A philosophy will be higher in the scale, nearer the truth, as the discernment is wider, the discrimination nicer, and the classification better.

The sense of the savage is dull compared with the sense of the civilized man. There is a myth current in civilization to the effect that the barbarian has highly developed perceptive faculties. It has no more foundation than the myth of the wisdom of the owl. A savage sees but few sights, hears but few sounds, tastes but few flavors, smells but few odors; his whole sensuous life is narrow and blunt, and his facts that are made up of the combination of sensuous impressions are few. In comparison, the civilized man has his vision extended away toward the infinitesimal and away toward the infinite; his perception of sound is multiplied to the comprehension of rapturous symphonies; his perception of taste is increased to the enjoyment of delicious viands; his perception of smell is developed to the appreciation of most exquisite perfumes; and his facts that are made up of the combination of sensuous impressions are multiplied beyond enumeration. The stages of discernment from the lowest savage to the highest civilized man constitute a series the end of which is far from the beginning.

If the discernment of the savage is little, his discrimination is less. All his sensuous perceptions are confused; but the confusion of confusion is that universal habit of savagery—the confusion of the objective with the subjective—so that the savage sees, hears, tastes, smells, feels the imaginings of his own mind. Subjectively determined sensuous processes are diseases in civilization, but normal, functional methods in savagery.


The savage philosopher classifies by obvious resemblances—analogic characters. The civilized philosopher classifies by essential affinitives—homologic characteristics—and the progress of philosophy is marked by changes from analogic categories to homologic categories.


There are two grand stages of philosophy—the mythologic and scientific. In the first, all phenomena are explained by analogies derived from subjective human experiences; in the latter, phenomena are explained as orderly successions of events.

In sublime egotism, man first interprets the cosmos as an extension of himself; he classifies the phenomena of the outer word by their analogies with subjective phenomena; his measure of distance is his own pace, his measure of time his own sleep, for he says, “It is a thousand paces to the great rock,” or, “It is a hundred sleeps to the great feast.” Noises are voices, powers are hands, movements are made afoot. By subjective examination discovering in himself will and design, and by inductive reason discovering will and design in his fellow men and in animals, he extends the induction to all the cosmos, and there discovers in all things will and design. All phenomena are supposed to be the acts of some one, and that some one having will and purpose. In mythologic philosophy the phenomena of the outer physical world are supposed to be the acts of living, willing, designing personages. The simple are compared with and explained by the complex. In scientific philosophy, phenomena are supposed to be children of antecedent phenomena, and so far as science goes with its explanation they are thus interpreted. Man with the subjective phenomena gathered about him is studied from an objective point of view, and the phenomena of subjective life are relegated to the categories established in the classification of the phenomena of the outer world; thus the complex is studied by resolving it into its simple constituents.

There is an unknown known, and there is a known unknown. The unknown known is the philosophy of savagery; the known unknown is the philosophy of civilization. In those stages of culture that we call savagery and barbarism, all things are known—supposed to be known; but when at last something is known, understood, explained, then to those who have that knowledge in full comprehension all other things become unknown. Then is ushered in the era of investigation and discovery; then science is born; then is the beginning of civilization. The philosophy of savagery is complete; the philosophy of civilization fragmentary. Ye men of science, ye wise fools, ye have discovered the law 22 of gravity, but ye cannot tell what gravity is. But savagery has a cause and a method for all things; nothing is left unexplained.

In the lower stages of savagery the cosmos is bounded by the great plain of land and sea on which we tread, and the firmament, the azure surface above, set with brilliants; and beyond is an abyss of—nothing. Within these bounds all things are known, all things are explained; there are no mysteries but the whims of the gods. But when the plain on which we tread becomes a portion of the surface of a great globe, and the domed firmament becomes the heavens, stretching beyond Alcyone and Sirius, with this enlargement of the realm of philosophy the verity of philosophy is questioned. The savage is a positive man; the scientist is a doubting man.

The opinions of a savage people are childish. Society grows! Some say society develops; others that society evolves; but, somehow, I like to say it grows. The history of the discovery of growth is a large part of the history of human culture. That individuals grow, that the child grows to be a man, the colt a horse, the scion a tree, is easily recognized, though with unassisted eye the processes of growth are not discovered. But that races grow—races of men, races of animals, races of plants, races or groups of worlds—is a very late discovery, and yet all of us do not grasp so great a thought. Consider that stage of culture where the growth of individuals is not fully recognized. That stage is savagery. To-day the native races of North America are agitated by discussions over that great philosophic question, “Do the trees grow or were they created?” That the grass grows they admit, but the orthodox philosophers stoutly assert that the forest pines and the great sequoias were created as they are.

Thus in savagery the philosophers dispute over the immediate creation or development of individuals—in civilization over the immediate creation or development of races. I know of no single fact that better illustrates the wide difference between these two stages of culture. But let us look for other terms of comparison. The scalping scene is no more the true picture of savagery than the bayonet charge of civilization. Savagery is sylvan life. Contrast Ka-ni-ga with New York. Ka-ni-ga is an Indian village in the Rocky Mountains. New York is, well—New York. The home in the forest is a shelter of boughs; the home in New York is a palace of granite. The dwellers in Ka-ni-ga are clothed in the skins of animals, rudely tanned, rudely wrought, and colored with daubs of clay. For the garments of New York, flocks are tended, fields are cultivated, ships sail on the sea, and men dig in the mountains for dye-stuffs stored in the rocks. The industries of Ka-ni-ga employ stone knives, bone awls, and human muscle; the industries of New York employ the tools of the trades, the machinery of the manufactories, and the power of the sun—for water-power is but sunshine, and the coal mine is but a pot of pickeled sunbeams.


Even the nursery rhymes are in contrast; the prattler in New York says:

Daffy down dilly

Has come up to town,

With a green petticoat

And a blue gown;

but in savagery the outer and nether garments are not yet differentiated; and more: blue and green are not differentiated, for the Indian has but one name for the two; the green grass and the blue heavens are of the same hue in the Indian tongue. But the nursery tales of Ka-ni-ga are of the animals, for the savages associate with the animals on terms of recognized equality; and this is what the prattler in Ka-ni-ga says:

The poor little bee

That lives in the tree,

The poor little bee

That lives in the tree,

Has only one arrow

In his quiver.

The arts and industries of savagery and civilization are not in greater contrast than their philosophy. To fully present to you the condition of savagery, as illustrated in their philosophy, three obstacles appear. After all the years I have spent among the Indians in their mountain villages, I am not certain that I have sufficiently divorced myself from the thoughts and ways of civilization to properly appreciate their childish beliefs. The second obstacle subsists in your own knowledge of the methods and powers of nature, and the ways of civilized society; and when I attempt to tell you what an Indian thinks, I fear you will never fully forget what you know, and thus you will be led to give too deep a meaning to a savage explanation; or, on the other hand, contrasting an Indian concept with your own, the manifest absurdity will sound to you as an idle tale too simple to deserve mention, or too false to deserve credence. The third difficulty lies in the attempt to put savage thoughts into civilized language; our words are so full of meaning, carry with them so many great thoughts and collateral ideas.

Some examples of the philosophic methods belonging to widely separated grades of culture may serve to make the previous statements clearer.

Wind.—The Ute philosopher discerns that men and animals breathe. He recognizes vaguely the phenomena of the wind, and discovers its resemblance to breath, and explains the winds by relegating them to the class of breathings. He declares that there is a monster beast in the north that breathes the winter winds, and another in the south, and another in the east, and another in the west. The facts relating to winds are but partially discerned; the philosopher has not yet discovered that there is an earth-surrounding atmosphere. He fails in making the proper discriminations. His relegation of the winds to the class of 24 breathings is analogic, but not homologic. The basis of his philosophy is personality, and hence he has four wind-gods.

The philosopher of the ancient Northland discovered that he could cool his brow with a fan, or kindle a flame, or sweep away the dust with the wafted air. The winds also cooled his brow, the winds also swept away the dust and kindled the fire into a great conflagration, and when the wind blew he said, “Somebody is fanning the waters of the fiord,” or “Somebody is fanning the evergreen forests,” and he relegated the winds to the class of fannings, and he said, “The god Hræsvelger, clothed with eagle-plumes, is spreading his wings for flight, and the winds rise from under them.”

The early Greek philosopher discovered that air may be imprisoned in vessels or move in the ventilation of caves, and he recognized wind as something more than breath, something more than fanning, something that can be gathered up and scattered abroad, and so when the winds blew he said, “The sacks have been untied,” or “The caves have been opened.”

The philosopher of civilization, has discovered that breath, the fan-wafted breeze, the air confined in vessels, the air moving in ventilation, that these are all parts of the great body of air which surrounds the earth, all in motion, swung by the revolving earth, heated at the tropics, cooled at the poles, and thus turned into counter-currents and again deflected by a thousand geographic features, so that the winds sweep down valleys, eddy among mountain crags, or waft the spray from the crested billows of the sea, all in obedience to cosmic laws. The facts discerned are many, the discriminations made are nice, and the classifications based on true homologies, and we have the science of meteorology, which exhibits an orderly succession of events even in the fickle winds.

Sun and Moon.—The Ute philosopher declares the sun to be a living personage, and explains his passage across the heavens along an appointed way by giving an account of a fierce personal conflict between Tä-vi, the sun-god, and Ta-wăts, one of the supreme gods of his mythology.

In that long ago, the time to which all mythology refers, the sun roamed the earth at will. When he came too near with his fierce heat the people were scorched, and when he hid away in his cave for a long time, too idle to come forth, the night was long and the earth cold. Once upon a time Ta-wăts, the hare-god, was sitting with his family by the camp-fire in the solemn woods, anxiously waiting for the return of Tä-vi, the wayward sun-god. Wearied with long watching, the hare-god fell asleep, and the sun-god came so near that he scorched the naked shoulder of Ta-wăts. Foreseeing the vengeance which would be thus provoked, he fled back to his cave beneath the earth. Ta-wăts awoke in great anger, and speedily determined to go and fight the sun-god. After a long journey of many adventures the hare-god came to the brink 25 of the earth, and there watched long and patiently, till at last the sun-god coming out he shot an arrow at his face, but the fierce heat consumed the arrow ere it had finished its intended course; then another arrow was sped, but that was also consumed; and another, and still another, till only one remained in his quiver, but this was the magical arrow that had never failed its mark. Ta-wăts, holding it in his hand, lifted the barb to his eye and baptized it in a divine tear; then the arrow was sped and struck the sun-god full in the face, and the sun was shivered into a thousand fragments, which fell to the earth, causing a general conflagration. Then Ta-wăts, the hare-god, fled before the destruction he had wrought, and as he fled the burning earth consumed his feet, consumed his legs, consumed his body, consumed his hands and his arms—all were consumed but the head alone, which bowled across valleys and over mountains, fleeing destruction from the burning earth until at last, swollen with heat, the eyes of the god burst and the tears gushed forth in a flood which spread over the earth and extinguished the fire. The sun-god was now conquered, and he appeared before a council of the gods to await sentence. In that long council were established the days and the nights, the seasons and the years, with the length thereof, and the sun was condemned to travel across the firmament by the same trail day after day till the end of time.

In this same philosophy we learn that in that ancient time a council of the gods was held to consider the propriety of making a moon, and at last the task was given to Whippoorwill, a god of the night, and a frog yielded himself a willing sacrifice for this purpose, and the Whippoorwill, by incantations, and other magical means, transformed the frog into the new moon. The truth of this origin of the moon is made evident to our very senses; for do we not see the frog riding the moon at night, and the moon is cold, because the frog from which it was made was cold?

The philosopher of Oraibi tells us that when the people ascended by means of the magical tree which constituted the ladder from the lower world to this, they found the firmament, the ceiling of this world, low down upon the earth—the floor of this world. Matcito, one of their gods, raised the firmament on his shoulders to where it is now seen. Still the world was dark, as there was no sun, no moon, and no stars. So the people murmured because of the darkness and the cold. Matcito said, “Bring me seven maidens,” and they brought him seven maidens; and he said, “Bring me seven baskets of cotton-bolls,” and they brought him seven baskets of cotton-bolls; and he taught the seven maidens to weave a magical fabric from the cotton, and when they had finished it he held it aloft, and the breeze carried it away toward the firmament, and in the twinkling of an eye it was transformed into a beautiful full-orbed moon, and the same breeze caught the remnants of flocculent cotton which the maidens had scattered during their work, 26 and carried them aloft, and they were transformed into bright stars. But still it was cold and the people murmured again, and Matcito said, “Bring me seven buffalo robes,” and they brought him seven buffalo robes, and from the densely matted hair of the robes he wove another wonderful fabric, which the storm carried away into the sky, and it was transformed into the full-orbed sun. Then Matcito appointed times and seasons and ways for the heavenly bodies, and the gods of the firmament have obeyed the injunctions of Matcito from the day of their creation to the present.

The Norse philosopher tells us that Night and Day, each, has a horse and a car, and they drive successively one after the other around the world in twenty-four hours. Night rides first with her steed named Dew-hair, and every morning as he ends his course he bedews the earth with foam from his bit. The steed driven by Day is Shining-hair. All the sky and earth glisten with the light of his mane. Jarnved, the great iron-wood forest lying to the east of Midgard, is the abode of a race of witches. One monster witch is the mother of many sons in the form of wolves, two of which are Skol and Hate. Skol is the wolf that would devour the maiden Sun, and she daily flies from the maw of the terrible beast, and the moon-man flies from the wolf Hate.

The philosopher of Samos tells us that the earth is surrounded by hollow crystalline spheres set one within another, and all revolving at different rates from east to west about the earth, and that the sun is set in one of these spheres and the moon in another.

The philosopher of civilization tells us that the sun is an incandescent globe, one of the millions afloat in space. About this globe the planets revolve, and the sun and planets and moons were formed from nebulous matter by the gradual segregation of their particles controlled by the laws of gravity, motion, and affinity.

The sun, traveling by an appointed way across the heavens with the never-ending succession of day and night, and the ever-recurring train of seasons, is one of the subjects of every philosophy. Among all peoples, in all times, there is an explanation of these phenomena, but in the lowest stage, way down in savagery, how few the facts discerned, how vague the discriminations made, how superficial the resemblances by which the phenomena are classified! In this stage of culture, all the daily and monthly and yearly phenomena which come as the direct result of the movements of the heavenly bodies are interpreted as the doings of some one—some god acts. In civilization the philosopher presents us the science of astronomy with all its accumulated facts of magnitude, and weights, and orbits, and distances, and velocities—with all the nice discriminations of absolute, relative, and apparent motions; and all these facts he is endeavoring to classify in homologic categories, and the evolutions and revolutions of the heavenly bodies are explained as an orderly succession of events.

Rain.—The Shoshoni philosopher believes the domed firmament to be 27 ice, and surely it is the very color of ice, and he believes further that a monster serpent-god coils his huge back to the firmament and with his scales abrades its face and causes the ice-dust to fall upon the earth. In the winter-time it falls as snow, but in the summer-time it melts and falls as rain, and the Shoshoni philosopher actually sees the serpent of the storm in the rainbow of many colors.

The Oraibi philosopher who lives in a pueblo is acquainted with architecture, and so his world is seven-storied. There is a world below and five worlds above this one. Muĭñwa, the rain-god, who lives in the world immediately above, dips his great brush, made of feathers of the birds of the heavens, into the lakes of the skies and sprinkles the earth with refreshing rain for the irrigation of the crops tilled by these curious Indians who live on the cliffs of Arizona. In winter, Muĭñwa crushes the ice of the lakes of the heavens and scatters it over the earth, and we have a snow-fall.

The Hindoo philosopher says that the lightning-bearded Indra breaks the vessels that hold the waters of the skies with his thunder-bolts, and the rains descend to irrigate the earth.

The philosopher of civilization expounds to us the methods by which the waters are evaporated from the land and the surface of the sea, and carried away by the winds, and gathered into clouds to be discharged again upon the earth, keeping up forever that wonderful circulation of water from the heavens to the earth and from the earth to the heavens—that orderly succession of events in which the waters travel by river, by sea, and by cloud.

Rainbow.—In Shoshoni, the rainbow is a beautiful serpent that abrades the firmament of ice to give us snow and rain. In Norse, the rainbow is the bridge Bifrost spanning the space between heaven and earth. In the Iliad, the rainbow is the goddess Iris, the messenger of the King of Olympus. In Hebrew, the rainbow is the witness to a covenant. In science, the rainbow is an analysis of white light into its constituent colors by the refraction of raindrops.

Falling stars.—In Ute, falling stars are the excrements of dirty little star-gods. In science—well, I do not know what falling stars are in science. I think they are cinders from the furnace where the worlds are forged. You may call this mythologic or scientific, as you please.

Migration of birds.—The Algonkian philosopher explains the migration of birds by relating the myth of the combat between Ka-bĭ-bo-no-kĭ and Shiñgapis, the prototype or progenitor of the water-hen, one of their animal gods. A fierce battle raged between Ka-bĭ-bo-no-kĭ and Shiñgapis, but the latter could not be conquered. All the birds were driven from the land but Shiñgapis; and then was it established that whenever in the future Winter-maker should come with his cold winds, fierce snows, and frozen waters, all the birds should leave for the south except Shiñgapis and his friends. So the birds that spend their winters 28 north are called by the Algonkian philosophers “the friends of Shiñgapis.”

In contrast to this explanation of the flight of birds may be placed the explanation of the modern evolutionist, who says that the birds migrate in quest of abundance of food and a genial climate, guided by an instinct of migration, which is an accumulation of inherited memories.

Diversity of languages.—The Kaibäbĭt philosopher accounts for the diversity of languages in this manner: Sĭ-tcom´-pa Ma-só-ĭts, the grandmother goddess of the sea, brought up mankind from beneath the waves in a sack, which she delivered to the Cĭn-aú-äv brothers, the great wolf-gods of his mythology, and told them to carry it from the shores of the sea to the Kaibab Plateau, and then to open it; but they were by no means to open the package ere their arrival, lest some great disaster should befall. The curiosity of the younger Cĭn-aú-äv overcame him, and he untied the sack, and the people swarmed out; but the elder Cĭn-aú-äv, the wiser god, ran back and closed the sack while yet not all the people had escaped, and they carried the sack, with its remaining contents, to the plateau, and there opened it. Those that remained in the sack found a beautiful land—a great plateau covered with mighty forests, through which elk, deer, and antelope roamed in abundance, and many mountain-sheep were found on the bordering crags; piv, the nuts of the edible pine, they found on the foot-hills, and us, the fruit of the yucca, in sunny glades; and nänt, the meschal crowns, for their feasts; and tcu-ar, the cactus-apple, from which to make their wine; reeds grew about the lakes for their arrow-shafts; the rocks were full of flints for their barbs and knives, and away down in the cañon they found a pipe-stone quarry, and on the hills they found är-a-ûm-pĭv, their tobacco. O, it was a beautiful land that was given to these, the favorites of the gods! The descendants of these people are the present Kaibäbĭts of northern Arizona. Those who escaped by the way, through the wicked curiosity of the younger Cĭn-aú-äv, scattered over the country and became Navajos, Mokis, Sioux, Comanches, Spaniards, Americans—poor, sorry fragments of people without the original language of the gods, and only able to talk in imperfect jargons.

The Hebrew philosopher tells us that on the plains of Shinar the people of the world were gathered to build a city and erect a tower, the summit of which should reach above the waves of any flood Jehovah might send. But their tongues were confused as a punishment for their impiety.

The philosopher of science tells us that mankind was widely scattered over the earth anterior to the development of articulate speech, that the languages of which we are cognizant sprang from innumerable centers as each little tribe developed its own language, and that in the study of any language an orderly succession of events may be discovered in its evolution from a few simple holophrastic locutions to a complex language with a multiplicity of words and an elaborate grammatic structure, by the differentiation of the parts of speech and the integration of the sentence.


A cough.—A man coughs. In explanation the Ute philosopher would tell us that an u-nú-pĭts—a pygmy spirit of evil—had entered the poor man’s stomach, and he would charge the invalid with having whistled at night; for in their philosophy it is taught that if a man whistles at night, when the pygmy spirits are abroad, one is sure to go through the open door into the stomach, and the evidence of this disaster is found in the cough which the u-nú-pĭts causes. Then the evil spirit must be driven out, and the medicine-man stretches his patient on the ground and scarifies him with the claws of eagles from head to heel, and while performing the scarification a group of men and women stand about, forming a chorus, and medicine-man and chorus perform a fugue in gloomy ululation, for these wicked spirits will depart only by incantations and scarifications.

In our folk-lore philosophy a cough is caused by a “cold,” whatever that may be—a vague entity—that must be treated first according to the maxim “Feed a cold and starve a fever,” and the “cold” is driven away by potations of bitter teas.

In our medical philosophy a cough may be the result of a clogging of the pores of the skin, and is relieved by clearing those flues that carry away the waste products of vital combustion.

These illustrations are perhaps sufficient to exhibit the principal characteristics of the two methods of philosophy, and, though they cover but narrow fields, it should be remembered that every philosophy deals with the whole cosmos. An explanation of all things is sought—not alone the great movements of the heavens, or the phenomena that startle even the unthinking, but every particular which is observed. Abstractly, the plane of demarkation between the two methods of philosophy can be sharply drawn, but practically we find them strangely mixed; mythologic methods prevail in savagery and barbarism, and scientific methods prevail in civilization. Mythologic philosophies antedate scientific philosophies. The thaumaturgic phases of mythology are the embryonic stages of philosophy, science being the fully developed form. Without mythology there could be no science, as without childhood there could be no manhood, or without embryonic conditions there could be no ultimate forms.


Mythologic philosophy is the subject with which we deal. Its method, as stated in general terms, is this: All phenomena of the outer objective world are interpreted by comparison with those of the inner subjective world. Whatever happens, some one does it; that some one has a will and works as he wills. The basis of the philosophy is personality. The persons who do the things which we observe in the phenomena of the universe are the gods of mythology—the cosmos is a pantheon. Under 30 this system, whatever may be the phenomenon observed, the philosopher asks, “Who does it?” and “Why?” and the answer comes, “A god with his design.” The winds blow, and the interrogatory is answered, “Æolus frees them from the cave to speed the ship of a friend, or destroy the vessel of a foe.” The actors in mythologic philosophy are gods.

In the character of these gods four stages of philosophy may be discovered. In the lowest and earliest stage everything has life; everything is endowed with personality, will, and design; animals are endowed with all the wonderful attributes of mankind; all inanimate objects are believed to be animate; trees think and speak; stones have loves and hates; hills and mountains, springs and rivers, and all the bright stars, have life—everything discovered objectively by the senses is looked upon subjectively by the philosopher and endowed with all the attributes supposed to be inherent in himself. In this stage of philosophy everything is a god. Let us call it hecastotheism.

In the second stage men no longer attribute life indiscriminately to inanimate things; but the same powers and attributes recognized by subjective vision in man are attributed to the animals by which he is surrounded. No line of demarkation is drawn between man and beast; all are great beings endowed with wonderful attributes. Let us call this stage zoötheism, when men worship beasts. All the phenomena of nature are the doings of these animal gods; all the facts of nature, all the phenomena of the known universe, all the institutions of humanity known to the philosophers of this stage, are accounted for in the mythologic history of these zoömorphic gods.

In the third stage a wide gulf is placed between man and the lower animals. The animal gods are dethroned, and the powers and phenomena of nature are personified and deified. Let us call this stage physitheism. The gods are strictly anthropomorphic, having the form as well as the mental, moral, and social attributes of men. Thus we have a god of the sun, a god of the moon, a god of the air, a god of dawn, and a deity of the night.

In the fourth stage, mental, moral, and social characteristics are personified and deified. Thus we have a god of war, a god of love, a god of revelry, a god of plenty, and like personages who preside over the institutions and occupations of mankind. Let us call this psychotheism. With the mental, moral, and social characteristics in these gods are associated the powers of nature; and they differ from nature-gods chiefly in that they have more distinct psychic characteristics.

Psychotheism, by the processes of mental integration, developes in one direction into monotheism, and in the other into pantheism. When the powers of nature are held predominant in the minds of the philosophers through whose cogitations this evolution of theism is carried on, pantheism, as the highest form of psychotheism, is the final result; but when the moral qualities are held in highest regard in the minds of the men in whom this process of evolution is carried on, monotheism, or a god 31 whose essential characteristics are moral qualities, is the final product. The monotheistic god is not nature, but presides over and operates through nature. Psychotheism has long been recognized. All of the earlier literature of mankind treats largely of these gods, for it is an interesting fact that in the history of any civilized people, the evolution of psychotheism is approximately synchronous with the invention of an alphabet. In the earliest writings of the Egyptians, the Hindoos, and the Greeks, this stage is discovered, and Osiris, Indra, and Zeus are characteristic representatives. As psychotheism and written language appear together in the evolution of culture, this stage of theism is consciously or unconsciously a part of the theme of all written history.

The paleontologist, in studying the rocks of the hill and the cliffs of the mountain, discovers, in inanimate stones, the life-forms of the ancient earth. The geologist, in the study of the structure of valleys and mountains, discovers groups of facts that lead him to a knowledge of more ancient mountains and valleys and seas, of geographic features long ago buried, and followed by a new land with new mountains and valleys, and new seas. The philologist, in studying the earliest writings of a people, not only discovers the thoughts purposely recorded in those writings, but is able to go back in the history of the people many generations, and discover with even greater certainty the thoughts of the more ancient people who made the words. Thus the writings of the Greeks, the Hindoos, and the Egyptians, that give an account of their psychic gods, also contain a description of an earlier theism unconsciously recorded by the writers themselves. Psychotheism prevailed when the sentences were coined, physitheism when the words were coined. So the philologist discovers physitheism in all ancient literature. But the verity of that stage of philosophy does not rest alone upon the evidence derived from the study of fossil philosophies through the science of philology. In the folk-lore of every civilized people having a psychotheistic philosophy, an earlier philosophy with nature-gods is discovered.

The different stages of philosophy which I have attempted to characterize have never been found in purity. We always observe different methods of explanation existing side by side, and the type of a philosophy is determined by the prevailing characteristics of its explanation of phenomena. Fragments of the earlier are always found side by side with the greater body of the later philosophy. Man has never clothed himself in new garments of wisdom, but has ever been patching the old, and the old and the new are blended in the same pattern, and thus we have atavism in philosophy. So in the study of any philosophy which has reached the psychotheistic age, patches of the earlier philosophy are always seen. Ancient nature-gods are found to be living and associating with the supreme psychic deities. Thus in anthropologic science there are three ways by which to go back in the history of any civilized people and learn of its barbaric physitheism. But of the verity of this stage we have further evidence. When Christianity was carried north 32 from Central Europe, the champions of the new philosophy, and its consequent religion, discovered, among those who dwelt by the glaciers of the north, a barbaric philosophy which they have preserved to history in the Eddas and Sagas, and Norse literature is full of a philosophy in a transition state, from physitheism to psychotheism; and, mark! the people discovered in this transition state were inventing an alphabet—they were carving Runes. Then a pure physitheism was discovered in the Aztec barbarism of Mexico; and elsewhere on the globe many people were found in that stage of culture to which this philosophy properly belongs. Thus the existence of physitheism as a stage of philosophy is abundantly attested. Comparative mythologists are agreed in recognizing these two stages. They might not agree to throw all of the higher and later philosophies into one group, as I have done, but all recognize the plane of demarkation between the higher and the lower groups as I have drawn it. Scholars, too, have come essentially to an agreement that physitheism is earlier and older than psychotheism. Perhaps there may be left a “doubting Thomas” who believes that the highest stage of psychotheism—that is, monotheism—was the original basis for the philosophy of the world, and that all other forms are degeneracies from that primitive and perfect state. If there be such a man left, to him what I have to say about philosophy is blasphemy.

Again, all students of comparative philosophy, or comparative mythology, or comparative religion, as you may please to approach this subject from different points of view, recognize that there is something else; that there are philosophies, or mythologies, or religions, not included in the two great groups. All that something else has been vaguely called fetichism. I have divided it into two parts, hecastotheism and zoötheism. The verity of zoötheism as a stage of philosophy rests on abundant evidence. In psychotheism it appears as devilism in obedience to a well-known law of comparative theology, viz, that the gods of a lower and superseded stage of culture oftentimes become the devils of a higher stage. So in the very highest stages of psychotheism we find beast-devils. In Norse mythology, we have Fenris the wolf, and Jormungandur the serpent. Dragons appear in Greek mythology, the bull is an Egyptian god, a serpent is found in the Zendavesta; and was there not a scaly fellow in the garden of Eden? So common are these beast-demons in the higher mythologies that they are used in every literature as rhetorical figures. So we find, as a figure of speech, the great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with tail that with one brush sweeps away a third of the stars of heaven. And wherever we find nature-worship we find it accompanied with beast-worship. In the study of higher philosophies, having learned that lower philosophies often exist side by side with them, we might legitimately conclude that a philosophy based upon animal gods had existed previous to the development of physitheism; and philologic research leads to the same conclusion. But we are not left to base this conclusion upon an 33 induction only, for in the examination of savage philosophies we actually discover zoötheism in all its proportions. Many of the Indians of North America, and many of South America, and many of the tribes of Africa, are found to be zoötheists. Their supreme gods are animals—tigers, bears, wolves, serpents, birds. Having discovered this, with a vast accumulation of evidence, we are enabled to carry philosophy back one stage beyond physitheism, and we can confidently assert that all the philosophies of civilization have come up through these three stages.

And yet, there are fragments of philosophy discovered which are not zoötheistic, physitheistic, nor psychotheistic. What are they? We find running through all three stages of higher philosophy that phenomena are sometimes explained by regarding them as the acts of persons who do not belong to any of the classes of gods found in the higher stages. We find fragments of philosophy everywhere which seem to assume that all inanimate nature is animate; that mountains and hills, and rivers and springs, that trees and grasses, that stones, and all fragments of things are endowed with life and with will, and act for a purpose. These fragments of philosophy lead to the discovery of hecastotheism. Philology also leads us back to that state when the animate and the inanimate were confounded, for the holophrastic roots into which words are finally resolved show us that all inanimate things were represented in language as actors. Such is the evidence on which we predicate the existence of hecastotheism as a veritable stage of philosophy. Unlike the three higher stages, it has no people extant on the face of the globe, known to be in this stage of culture. The philosophies of many of the lowest tribes of mankind are yet unknown, and hecastotheism may be discovered; but at the present time we are not warranted in saying that any tribe entertains this philosophy as its highest wisdom.


The three stages of mythologic philosophy that are still extant in the world must be more thoroughly characterized, and the course of their evolution indicated. But in order to do this clearly, certain outgrowths from mythologic philosophy must be explained—certain theories and practices that necessarily result from this philosophy, and that are intricately woven into the institutions of mankind.

Ancientism.—The first I denominate ancientism. Yesterday was better than to-day. The ancients were wiser that we. This belief in a better day and a better people in the elder time is almost universal among mankind. A belief so widely spread, so profoundly entertained, must have for its origin some important facts in the constitution or history of mankind. Let us see what they are.


In the history of every individual the sports and joys of childhood are compared and contrasted with the toils and pains of old age. Greatly protracted life, in savagery and barbarism, is not a boon to be craved. In that stage of society where the days and the years go by with little or no provision for a time other than that which is passing, the old must go down to the grave through poverty and suffering. In that stage of culture to-morrow’s bread is not certain, and to-day’s bread is often scarce. In civilization plenty and poverty live side by side; the palace and the hovel are on the same landscape; the rich and poor elbow each other on the same street; but in savagery plenty and poverty come with recurring days to the same man, and the tribe is rich to-day and poor to-morrow, and the days of want come in every man’s history; and when they come the old suffer most, and the burden of old age is oppressive. In youth activity is joy; in old age activity is pain. So wonder, then, that old age loves youth, or that to-day loves yesterday, for the instinct is born of the inherited experiences of mankind.

But there is yet another and more potent reason for ancientism. That tale is the most wonderful that has been most repeated, for the breath of speech is the fertilizer of story. Hence, the older the story the greater its thaumaturgics. Thus, yesterday is greater than to-day by natural processes of human exaggeration. Again, that is held to be most certain, and hence most sacred, which has been most often affirmed. A Brahman was carrying a goat to the altar. Three thieves would steal it. So they placed themselves at intervals along the way by which the pious Brahman would travel. When the venerable man came to the first thief he was accosted: “Brahman, why do you carry a dog?” Now, a dog is an unclean beast which no Brahman must touch. And the Brahman, after looking at his goat, said: “You do err; this is a goat.” And when the old man reached the second thief, again he was accosted: “Brahman, why do you carry a dog?” So the Brahman put his goat on the ground, and after narrowly scrutinizing it, he said: “Surely this is a goat,” and went on his way. When he came to the third thief he was once more accosted: “Brahman, why do you carry a dog?” Then the Brahman, having thrice heard that his goat was a dog, was convinced, and throwing it down, he fled to the temple for ablution, and the thieves had a feast.

The child learns not for himself, but is taught, and accepts as true that which is told, and a propensity to believe the affirmed is implanted in his mind. In every society some are wise and some are foolish, and the wise are revered, and their affirmations are accepted. Thus, the few lead the multitude in knowledge, and the propensity to believe the affirmed started in childhood is increased in manhood in the great average of persons constituting society, and these propensities are inherited from generation to generation, until we have a cumulation of effects.

The propagation of opinions by affirmation, the cultivation of the propensity to believe that which has been affirmed many times, let us call 35 affirmatization. If the world’s opinions were governed only by the principles of mythologic philosophy, affirmatization would become so powerful that nothing would be believed but the anciently affirmed. Men would come to no new knowledge. Society would stand still listening to the wisdom of the fathers. But the power of affirmatization is steadily undermined by science.

And, still again, the institutions of society conform to its philosophy. The explanations of things always includes the origin of human institutions. So the welfare of society is based on philosophy, and the venerable sayings which constitute philosophy are thus held as sacred. So ancientism is developed from accumulated life-experiences; by the growth of story in repeated narration; by the steadily increasing power of affirmatization, and by respect for the authority upon which the institutions of society are based; all accumulating as they come down the generations. That we do thus inherit effects we know, for has it not been affirmed in the Book that “the fathers have eaten grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? As men come to believe that the “long ago” was better than the “now,” and the dead were better than the living, then philosophy must necessarily include a theory of degeneracy, which is a part of ancientism.

Theistic Society.—Again, the actors in mythologic philosophy are personages, and we always find them organized in societies. The social organization of mythology is always found to be essentially identical with the social organization of the people who entertain the philosophy. The gods are husbands and wives, and parents and children, and the gods have an organized government. This gives us theistic society, and we cannot properly characterize a theism without taking its mythic society into consideration.

Spiritism.—In the earliest stages of society of which we have practical knowledge by acquaintance with the people themselves, a belief in the existence of spirits prevails—a shade, an immaterial existence, which is the duplicate of the material personage. The genesis of this belief is complex. The workings of the human mind during periods of unconsciousness lead to opinions that are enforced by many physical phenomena.

First, we have the activities of the mind during sleep, when the man seems to go out from himself, to converse with his friends, to witness strange scenes, and to have many wonderful experiences. Thus the man seems to have lived an eventful life, when his body was, in fact, quiescent and unconscious. Memories of scenes and activities in former days, and the inherited memories of scenes witnessed and actions performed by ancestors, are blended in strange confusion by broken and inverted sequences. Now and then the dream-scenes are enacted in real life, and the infrequent coincidence or apparent verification makes deep impression on the mind, while unfulfilled dreams are forgotten. Thus the dreams of sleepers are attributed to their immaterial duplicates—their 36 spirits. In many diseases, also, the mind seems to wander, to see sights and to hear sounds, and to have many wonderful experiences, while the body itself is apparently unconscious. Sometimes, on restored health, the person may recall these wonderful experiences, and during their occurrence the subject talks to unseen persons, and seems to have replies, and to act, to those who witness, in such a manner that a second self—a spirit independent of the body—is suggested. When disease amounts to long-continued insanity all of these effects are greatly exaggerated, and make a deep impression upon all who witness the phenomena. Thus the hallucinations of fever-racked brains, and mad minds, are attributed to spirits.

The same conditions of apparent severance of mind and body witnessed in dreams and hallucinations are often produced artificially in the practice of ecstasism. In the vicissitudes of savage life, while little or no provision is made for the future, there are times when the savage resorts to almost anything at hand as a means of subsistence, and thus all plants and all parts of plants, seed, fruit, flowers, leaves, bark, roots—anything in times of extreme want—may be used as food. But experience soon teaches the various effects upon the human system which are produced by the several vegetable substances with which he meets, and thus the effect of narcotics is early discovered, and the savage in the practice of his religion oftentimes resorts to these native drugs for the purpose of producing an ecstatic state under which divination may be performed. The practice of ecstasism is universal in the lower stages of culture. In times of great anxiety, every savage and barbarian seeks to know of the future. Through all the earlier generations of mankind, ecstasism has been practiced, and civilized man has thus an inherited appetite for narcotics, to which the enormous propensity to drunkenness existing in all nations bears witness. When the great actor in his personation of Rip Van Winkle holds his goblet aloft and says, “Here’s to your health and to your family’s, and may they live long and prosper,” he connects the act of drinking with a prayer, and unconsciously demonstrates the origin of the use of stimulants. It may be that when the jolly companion has become a loathsome sot, and his mind is ablaze with the fire of drink, and he sees uncouth beasts in horrid presence, that inherited memories haunt him with visions of the beast-gods worshipped by his ancestors at the very time when the appetite for stimulants was created.

But ecstasism is produced in other ways, and for this purpose the savage and barbarian often resorts to fasting and bodily torture. In many ways he produces the wonderful state, and the visions of ecstasy are interpreted as the evidence of spirits.

Many physical phenomena serve to confirm this opinion. It is very late in philosophy when shadows are referred to the interception of the rays of the sun. In savagery and barbarism, shadows are supposed to be emanations from or duplicates of the bodies causing the shadows. And what savage understands the reflection of the rays of the sun by 37 which images are produced? They also are supposed to be emanations or duplications of the object reflected. No savage or barbarian could understand that the waves of the air are turned back, and sound is duplicated in an echo. He knows not that there is an atmosphere, and to him the echo is the voice of an unseen personage—a spirit. There is no theory more profoundly implanted in early mankind than that of spiritism.

Thaumaturgics.—The gods of mythologic philosophies are created to account for the wonders of nature. Necessarily they are a wonder-working folk, and, having been endowed with these magical powers in all the histories given in mythic tales of their doings on the earth, we find them performing most wonderful feats. They can transform themselves; they can disappear and reappear; all their senses are magical; some are endowed with a multiplicity of eyes, others have a multiplicity of ears; in Norse mythology the watchman on the rainbow bridge could hear the grass grow, and wool on the backs of sheep; arms can stretch out to grasp the distance, tails can coil about mountains, and all powers become magical. But the most wonderful power with which the gods are endowed is the power of will, for we find that they can think their arrows to the hearts of their enemies; mountains are overthrown by thought, and thoughts are projected into other minds. Such are the thaumaturgics of mythologic philosophy.

Mythic tales.—Early man having created through the development of his philosophy a host of personages, these gods must have a history. A part of that history, and the most important part to us as students of philosophy, is created in the very act of creating the gods themselves. I mean that portion of their history which relates to the operations of nature, for the gods were created to account for those things. But to this is added much else of adventure. The gods love as men love, and go in quest of mates. The gods hate as men hate, and fight in single combat or engage in mythic battles; and the history of these adventures impelled by love and hate, and all other passions and purposes with which men are endowed, all woven into a complex tissue with their doings in carrying out the operations of nature, constitutes the web and woof of mythology.

Religion.—Again, as human welfare is deeply involved in the operations of nature, man’s chief interest is in the gods. In this interest religion originates. Man, impelled by his own volition, guided by his own purposes, aspires to a greater happiness, and endeavor follows endeavor, but at every step his progress is impeded; his own powers fail before the greater powers of nature; his powers are pygmies, nature’s powers are giants, and to him these giants are gods with wills and purposes of their own, and he sees that man in his weakness can succeed only by allying himself with the gods. Hence, impelled by this philosophy, man must have communion with the gods, and in this communion he must influence them to work for himself. Hence, religion, which has 38 to do with the relations which exist between the gods and man, is the legitimate offspring of mythologic philosophy.

Thus we see that out of mythologic philosophy, as branches of the great tree itself, there grow ancientism, theistic society, spiritism, thaumaturgics, mythic tales, and religion.


I shall now give a summary characterization of zoötheism, then call attention to some of the relics of hecastotheism found therein, and proceed with a brief statement of the higher stages of theism. The apparent and easily accessible is studied first. In botany, the trees and the conspicuous flowering plants of garden, field, and plain were first known, and then all other plants were vaguely grouped as weeds; but, since the most conspicuous phenogamous plants were first studied, what vast numbers of new orders, new genera, and new species have been discovered, in the progress of research, to the lowest cryptogams!

In the study of ethnology we first recognized the more civilized races. The Aryan, Hamites, Shemites, and Chinese, and the rest were the weeds of humanity—the barbarian and savage, sometimes called Turanians. But, when we come carefully to study these lower people, what numbers of races are discovered! In North America alone we have more than seventy-five—seventy-five stocks of people speaking seventy-five stocks of language, and some single stocks embracing many distinct languages and dialects. The languages of the Algonkian family are as diverse as the Indo-European tongues. So are the languages of the Dakotans, the Shoshonians, the Tinnéans, and others; so that in North America we have more than five hundred languages spoken to-day. Each linguistic stock is found to have a philosophy of its own, and each stock as many branches of philosophy as it has languages and dialects. North America presents a magnificent field for the study of savage and barbaric philosophies.

This vast region of thought has been explored only by a few adventurous travelers in the world of science. No thorough survey of any part has been made. Yet the general outlines of North American philosophy are known, but the exact positions, the details, are all yet to be filled in—as the geography of the general outline of North America is known by exploration, but the exact positions and details of topography are yet to be filled in as the result of careful survey. Myths of the Algonkian stock are found in many a volume of Americana, the best of which were recorded by the early missionaries who came from Europe, though we find some of them, mixed with turbid speculations, in the writings of Schoolcraft. Many of the myths of the Indians of the south, in that 39 region stretching back from the great Gulf, are known; some collected by travelers, others by educated Indians.

Many of the myths of the Iroquois are known. The best of these are in the writings of Morgan, America’s greatest anthropologist. Missionaries, travelers, and linguists have given us a great store of the myths of the Dakotan stock. Many myths of the Tinnéan also have been collected. Petitot has recorded a number of those found at the north, and we have in manuscript some of the myths of a southern branch—the Navajos. Perhaps the myths of the Shoshonians have been collected more thoroughly than those of any other stock. These are yet unpublished, but the manuscripts are in the library of the Bureau of Ethnology. Powers has recorded many of the myths of various stocks in California, and the old Spanish writings give us a fair collection of the Nahuatlan myths of Mexico, and Rink has presented an interesting volume on the mythology of the Innuits; and, finally, fragments of mythology have been collected from nearly all the tribes of North America, and they are scattered through thousands of volumes, so that the literature is vast. The brief description which I shall give of zoötheism is founded on a study of the materials which I have thus indicated.

All these tribes are found in the higher stages of savagery, or the lower stages of barbarism, and their mythologies are found to be zoötheistic among the lowest, physitheistic among the highest, and a great number of tribes are found in a transition state; for zoötheism is found to be a characteristic of savagery, and physitheism of barbarism, using the terms as they have been defined by Morgan. The supreme gods of this stage are animals. The savage is intimately associated with animals. From them he obtains the larger part of his clothing, and much of his food, and he carefully studies their habits and finds many wonderful things. Their knowledge and skill and power appear to him to be superior to his own. He sees the mountain-sheep fleet among the crags, the eagle soaring in the heavens, the humming-bird poised over its blossom-cup of nectar, the serpents swift without legs, the salmon scaling the rapids, the spider weaving its gossamer web, the ant building a play-house mountain—in all animal nature he sees things too wonderful for him, and from admiration he grows to adoration, and the animals become his gods.

Ancientism plays an important part in this zoötheism. It is not the animals of to-day whom the Indians worship, but their progenitors—their prototypes. The wolf of to-day is a howling pest, but that wolf’s ancestor—the first of the line—was a god. The individuals of every species are supposed to have descended from an ancient being—a progenitor of the race; and so they have a grizzly-bear god, an eagle-god, a rattlesnake-god, a trout-god, a spider-god—a god for every species and variety of animal.

By these animal gods all things were established. The heavenly bodies were created and their ways appointed, and when the powers and 40 phenomena of nature are personified the personages are beasts, and all human institutions also were established by the ancient animal-gods.

The ancient animals of any philosophy of this stage are found to constitute a clan or gens—a body of relatives, or consanguinei, with grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers. In Ute theism, the ancient To-gó-äv, the first rattlesnake is the grandfather, and all the animal-gods are assigned to their relationships. Grandfather To-gó-äv, the wise, was the chief of the council, but Cĭn-aú-äv, the ancient wolf, was the chief of the clan.

There were many other clans and tribes of ancient gods with whom these supreme gods had dealings, of which hereafter; and, finally, each of these ancient gods became the progenitor of a new tribe, so that we have a tribe of bears, a tribe of eagles, a tribe of rattlesnakes, a tribe of spiders, and many other tribes, as we have tribes of Utes, tribes of Sioux, tribes of Navajos; and in that philosophy tribes of animals are considered to be coördinate with tribes of men. All of these gods have invisible duplicates—spirits—and they have often visited the earth. All of the wonderful things seen in nature are done by the animal-gods. That elder life was a magic life; but the descendants of the gods are degenerate. Now and then as a medicine-man by practicing sorcery can perform great feats, so now and then there is a medicine-bear, a medicine-wolf, or a medicine-snake that can work magic.

On winter nights the Indians gather about the camp-fire, and then the doings of the gods are recounted in many a mythic tale. I have heard the venerable and impassioned orator on the camp-meeting stand rehearse the story of the crucifixion, and have seen the thousands gathered there weep in contemplation of the story of divine suffering, and heard their shouts roll down the forest aisles as they gave vent to their joy at the contemplation of redemption. But the scene was not a whit more dramatic than another I have witnessed in an evergreen forest of the Rocky Mountain region, where a tribe was gathered under the great pines, and the temple of light from the blazing fire was walled by the darkness of midnight, and in the midst of the temple stood the wise old man, telling, in simple savage language, the story of Ta-wăts, when he conquered the sun and established the seasons and the days. In that pre-Columbian time, before the advent of white men, all the Indian tribes of North America gathered on winter nights by the shores of the seas where the tides beat in solemn rhythm, by the shores of the great lakes where the waves dashed against frozen beaches, and by the banks of the rivers flowing ever in solemn mystery—each in its own temple of illumined space—and listened to the story of its own supreme gods, the ancients of time.

Religion, in this stage of theism, is sorcery. Incantation, dancing, fasting, bodily torture, and ecstasism are practiced. Every tribe has its potion or vegetable drug, by which the ecstatic state is produced, and their venerable medicine-men see visions and dream dreams. No enterprise 41 is undertaken without consulting the gods, and no evil impends but they seek to propitiate the gods. All daily life, to the minutest particular, is religious. This stage of religion is characterized by fetichism. Every Indian is provided with his charm or fetich, revealed to him in some awful hour of ecstasy produced by fasting, or feasting, or drunkenness, and that fetich he carries with him to bring good luck, in love or in combat, in the hunt or on the journey. He carries a fetich suspended to his neck, he ties a fetich to his bow, he buries a fetich under his tent, he places a fetich under his pillow of wild-cat skins, he prays to his fetich, he praises it, or chides it; if successful, his fetich receives glory; if he fail, his fetich is disgraced. These fetiches may be fragments of bone or shell, the tips of the tails of animals, the claws of birds or beasts, perhaps dried hearts of little warblers, shards of beetles, leaves powdered and held in bags, or crystals from the rocks—anything curious may become a fetich. Fetichism, then, is a religious means, not a philosophic or mythologic state. Such are the supreme gods of the savage, and such the institutions which belong to their theism. But they have many other inferior gods. Mountains, hills, valleys, and great rocks have their own special deities—invisible spirits—and lakes, rivers, and springs are the homes of spirits. But all these have animal forms when in proper personæ. Yet some of the medicine-spirits can transform themselves, and work magic as do medicine-men. The heavenly bodies are either created personages or ancient men or animals translated to the sky. And, last, we find that ancestors are worshipped as gods.

Among all the tribes of North America with which we are acquainted tutelarism prevails. Every tribe and every clan has its own protecting god, and every individual has his my god. It is a curious fact that every Indian seeks to conceal the knowledge of his my god from all other persons, for he fears that, if his enemy should know of his tutelar deity, he might by extraordinary magic succeed in estranging him, and be able to compass his destruction through his own god.

In this summary characterization of zoötheism, I have necessarily systematized my statements. This, of course, could not be done by the savage himself. He could give you its particulars, but could not group those particulars in any logical way. He does not recognize any system, but talks indiscriminately, now of one, now of another god, and with him the whole theory as a system is vague and shadowy, but its particulars are vividly before his mind, and the certainty with which he entertains his opinions leaves no room to doubt his sincerity.

But there is yet another phase of theism discovered. Sometimes a particular mountain, or hill, or some great rock, some waterfall, some lake, or some spring receives special worship, and is itself believed to be a deity. This seems to be a relic of hecastotheism. Fetichism, also, seems to have come from that lower grade, and all the minor deities, the spirits of mountains and hills and forest, seem to have been derived from that same stage, but with this development, that the things themselves are not worshipped, but their essential spirits.


From zoötheism, as described, to physitheism the way is long. Gradually, in the progress of philosophy, animal gods are dethroned and become inferior gods or are forgotten; and gradually the gods of the firmament—the sun, the moon, the stars—are advanced to supremacy; the clouds, the storms, the winds, day and night, dawn and gloaming, the sky, the earth, the sea, and all the various phases of nature perceived by the barbaric mind, are personified and deified and exalted to a supremacy coordinate with the firmament gods; and all the gods of the lower stage that remain—animals, demons, and all men—belong to inferior tribes. The gods of the sky—the shining ones, those that soar on bright wings, those that are clothed in gorgeous colors, those that came from we know not where, those that vanish to the unknown—are the supreme gods. We always find these gods organized in great tribes, with mighty chieftains who fight in great combats or lead their hosts in battle, and return with much booty. Such is the theism of ancient Mexico, such the theism of the Northland, and such the theism discovered among the ancient Aryans.

From this stage to psychotheism the way is long, for evolution is slow. Gradually men come to differentiate more carefully between good and evil, and the ethic character of their gods becomes the subject of consideration, and the good gods grow in virtue, and the bad gods grow in vice. Their identity with physical objects and phenomena is gradually lost. The different phases or conditions of the same object or phenomenon are severed, and each is personified. The bad gods are banished to underground homes, or live in concealment, from which they issue on their expeditions of evil. Still, all powers exist in these gods, and all things were established by them. With the growth of their moral qualities no physical powers are lost, and the spirits of the physical bodies and phenomena become demons, subordinate to the great gods who preside over nature and human institutions.

We find, also, that these superior gods are organized in societies. I have said the Norse mythology was in a transition state from physitheism to psychotheism. The Asas, or gods, lived in Asgard, a mythic communal village, with its Thing or Council, the very counterpart of the communal village of Iceland. Olympus was a Greek city.

Still further in the study of mythologic philosophy we see that more and more supremacy falls into the hands of the few, until monotheism is established on the plan of the empire. Then all of the inferior deities whose characters are pure become ministering angels, and the inferior deities whose characters are evil become devils, and the differentiation of good and evil is perfected in the gulf between heaven and hell. In all this time from zoötheism to monotheism, ancientism becomes more ancient, and the times and dynasties are multiplied. Spiritism is more clearly defined, and spirits become eternal; mythologic tales are codified, and sacred books are written; divination for the result of amorous intrigue has become the prophecy of immortality, and thaumaturgics is 43 formulated as the omnipresent, the omnipotent, the omniscient—the infinite.

Time has failed me to tell of the evolution of idolatry from fetichism, priestcraft from sorcery, and of their overthrow by the doctrines that were uttered by that voice on the Mount. Religion, that was fetichism and ecstasism and sorcery, is now the yearning for something better, something purer, and the means by which this highest state for humanity may be reached, the ideal worship of the highest monotheism, is “in spirit and in truth.” The steps are long from Cĭn-aú-äv, the ancient of wolves, by Zeus, the ancient of skies, to Jehovah, the “Ancient of Days.”


In every Indian tribe there is a great body of story lore—tales purporting to be the sayings and doings, the history, of the gods. Every tribe has one or more persons skilled in the relation of these stories—preachers. The long winter evenings are set apart for this purpose. Then the men and women, the boys and girls, gather about the camp-fire to listen to the history of the ancients, to a chapter in the unwritten bible of savagery. Such a scene is of the deepest interest. A camp-fire of blazing pine or sage boughs illumines a group of dusky faces intent with expectation, and the old man begins his story, talking and acting; the elders receiving his words with reverence, while the younger persons are played upon by the actor until they shiver with fear or dance with delight. An Indian is a great actor. The conditions of Indian life train them in natural sign language. Among the two hundred and fifty or three hundred thousand Indians in the United States, there are scores of languages, so that often a language is spoken by only a few hundred or a few score of people; and as a means of communication between tribes speaking different languages, a sign language has grown up, so that an Indian is able to talk all over—with the features of his face, his hands and feet, the muscles of his body; and thus a skillful preacher talks and acts; and, inspired by a theme which treats of the gods, he sways his savage audience at will. And ever as he tells his story he points a moral—the mythology, theology, religion, history, and all human duties are taught. This preaching is one of the most important institutions of savagery. The whole body of myths current in a tribe is the sum total of their lore—their philosophy, their miraculous history, their authority for their governmental institutions, their social institutions, their habits and customs. It is their unwritten bible.



Once upon a time the Cĭn-aú-äv brothers met to consult about the destiny of the U-ĭn-ká-rĕts. At this meeting the younger said: “Brother, how shall these people obtain their food? Let us devise some good plan for them. I was thinking about it all night, but could not see what would be best, and when the dawn came into the sky I went to a mountain and sat on its summit, and thought a long time; and now I can tell you a good plan by which they can live. Listen to your younger brother. Look at these pine trees; their nuts are sweet; and there is the us, very rich; and there is the apple of the cactus, full of juice; on the plain you see the sunflower, bearing many seeds—they will be good for the nation. Let them have all these things for their food, and when they have gathered a store they shall put them in the ground, or hide them in the rocks, and when they return they shall find abundance, and having taken of them as they may need, shall go on, and yet when they return a second time there shall still be plenty; and though they return many times, as long as they live the store shall never fail; and thus they will be supplied with abundance of food without toil.” “Not so,” said the elder brother, “for then will the people, idle and worthless, and having no labor to perform, engage in quarrels, and fighting will ensue, and they will destroy each other, and the people will be lost to the earth; they must work for all they receive.” Then the younger brother answered not, but went away sorrowing.

The next day he met the elder brother and accosted him thus: “Brother, your words were wise; let the U-ĭn-ká-rĕts work for their food. But how shall they be furnished with honey-dew? I have thought all night about this, and when the dawn came into the sky I sat on the summit of the mountain and did think, and now I will tell you how to give them honey-dew: Let it fall like a great snow upon the rocks, and the women shall go early in the morning and gather all they may desire, and they shall be glad.” “No,” replied the elder brother, “it will not be good, my little brother, for them to have much and find it without toil; for they will deem it of no more value than dung, and what we give them for their pleasure will only be wasted. In the night it shall fall in small drops on the reeds, which they shall gather and beat with clubs, and then will it taste very sweet, and having but little they will prize it the more.” And the younger brother went away sorrowing, but returned the next day and said: “My brother, your words are wise; let the women gather the honey-dew with much toil, by beating the reeds with flails. Brother, when a man or a woman, or a boy or a girl, or a little one dies, where shall he go? I have thought all night about this, and 45 when the dawn came into the sky I sat on the top of the mountain and did think. Let me tell you what to do: When a man dies, send him back when the morning returns, and then will all his friends rejoice.” “Not so,” said the elder; “the dead shall return no more.” The little brother answered him not, but, bending his head in sorrow, went away.

One day the younger Cĭn-aú-äv was walking in the forest, and saw his brother’s son at play, and taking an arrow from his quiver slew the boy, and when he returned he did not mention what he had done. The father supposed that his boy was lost, and wandered around in the woods for many days, and at last found the dead child, and mourned his loss for a long time.

One day the younger Cĭn-aú-äv said to the elder, “You made the law that the dead should never return. I am glad that you were the first to suffer.” Then the elder knew that the younger had killed his child, and he was very angry and sought to destroy him, and as his wrath increased the earth rocked, subterraneous groanings were heard, darkness came on, fierce storms raged, lightning flashed, thunder reverberated through the heavens, and the younger brother fled in great terror to his father, Ta-vwots´, for protection.


I´-o-wi (the turtle dove) was gathering seeds in the valley, and her little babe slept. Wearied with carrying it on her back, she laid it under the tĭ-hó-pĭ (sage bush) in care of its sister, O-hó-tcu (the summer yellow bird). Engaged in her labors, the mother wandered away to a distance, when a tsó-a-vwĭts (a witch) came and said to the little girl, “Is that your brother?” and O-hó-tcu answered, “This is my sister,” for she had heard that witches preferred to steal boys, and did not care for girls. Then the tsó-a-vwĭts was angry and chided her, saying that it was very naughty for girls to lie; and she put on a strange and horrid appearance, so that O-hó-tcu was stupefied with fright; then the tsó-a-vwĭts ran away with the boy, carrying him to her home on a distant mountain. Then she laid him down on the ground, and, taking hold of his right foot, stretched the baby’s leg until it was as long as that of a man, and she did the same to the other leg; then his body was elongated; she stretched his arms, and, behold, the baby was as large as a man. And the tsó-a-vwĭts married him and had a husband, which she had long desired; but, though he had the body of a man, he had the heart of a babe, and knew no better than to marry a witch.

Now, when I´-o-wi returned and found not her babe under the tĭ-hó-pĭ, but learned from O-hó-tcu that it had been stolen by a tsó-a-vwĭts, she was very angry, and punished her daughter very severely. Then she went in search of the babe for a long time, mourning as she went, and 46 crying and still crying, refusing to be comforted, though all her friends joined her in the search, and promised to revenge her wrongs.

Chief among her friends was her brother, Kwi´-na (the eagle), who traveled far and wide over all the land, until one day he heard a strange noise, and coming near he saw the tsó-a-vwĭts and U´-ja (the sage cock), her husband, but he did not know that this large man was indeed the little boy who had been stolen. Yet he returned and related to I´-o-wi what he had seen, who said: “If that is indeed my boy, he will know my voice.” So the mother came near to where the tsó-a-vwĭts and U´-ja were living, and climbed into a cedar tree, and mourned and cried continually. Kwi´-na placed himself near by on another tree to observe what effect the voice of the mother would have on U´-ja, the tsó-a-vwĭts’ husband. When he heard the cry of his mother, U´-ja knew the voice, and said to the tsó-a-vwĭts, “I hear my mother, I hear my mother, I hear my mother,” but she laughed at him, and persuaded him to hide.

Now, the tsó-a-vwĭts had taught U´-ja to hunt, and a short time before he had killed a mountain sheep, which was lying in camp. The witch emptied the contents of the stomach, and with her husband took refuge within; for she said to herself, “Surely, I´-o-wi will never look in the paunch of a mountain sheep for my husband.” In this retreat they were safe for a long time, so that they who were searching were sorely puzzled at the strange disappearance. At last Kwi´-na said, “They are hid somewhere in the ground, maybe, or under the rocks; after a long time they will be very hungry and will search for food; I will put some in a tree so as to tempt them.” So he killed a rabbit and put it on the top of a tall pine, from which he trimmed the branches and peeled the bark, so that it would be very difficult to climb; and he said, “When these hungry people come out they will try to climb that tree for food, and it will take much time, and while the tsó-a-vwĭts is thus engaged we will carry U´-ja away.” So they watched some days, until the tsó-a-vwĭts was very hungry, and her baby-hearted husband cried for food; and she came out from their hiding place and sought for something to eat. The odor of the meat placed on the tree came to her nostrils, and she saw where it was and tried to climb up, but fell back many times; and while so doing Kwi´-na, who had been sitting on a rock near by and had seen from where she came, ran to the paunch which had been their house, and taking the man carried him away and laid him down under the very same tĭ-hó-pĭ from which he had been stolen; and behold! he was the same beautiful little babe that I´-o-wi had lost.

And Kwi´-na went off into the sky and brought back a storm, and caused the wind to blow, and the rain to beat upon the ground, so that his tracks were covered, and the tsó-a-vwĭts could not follow him; but she saw lying upon the ground near by some eagle feathers, and knew well who it was that had deprived her of her husband, and she said to herself, “Well, I know Kwi´-na is the brother of I´-o-wi; he is a 47 great warrior and a terrible man; I will go to To-go´-a (the rattlesnake), my grandfather, who will protect me and kill my enemies.”

To-go´-a was enjoying his midday sleep on a rock, and as the tsó-a-vwĭts came near her grandfather awoke and called out to her, “Go back, go back; you are not wanted here; go back!” But she came on begging his protection; and while they were still parleying they heard Kwi´-na coming, and To-go´-a said, “Hide, hide!” But she knew not where to hide, and he opened his mouth and the tsó-a-vwĭts crawled into his stomach. This made To-go´-a very sick and he entreated her to crawl out, but she refused, for she was in great fear. Then he tried to throw her up, but could not, and he was sick nigh unto death. At last, in his terrible retchings, he crawled out of his own skin, and left the tsó-a-vwĭts in it, and she, imprisoned there, rolled about and hid in the rocks. When Kwi´-na came near he shouted, “Where are you, old tsó-a-vwĭts? where are you, old tsó-a-vwĭts?” She repeated his words in mockery.

Ever since that day witches have lived in snake skins, and hide among the rocks, and take great delight in repeating the words of passers by.

The white man, who has lost the history of these ancient people, calls these mocking cries of witches domiciliated in snake skins “echoes,” but the Indians know the voices of the old hags.

This is the origin of the echo.


Tûm-pwĭ-nai´-ro-gwĭ-nûmp, he who had a stone shirt, killed Sĭ-kor´, (the crane,) and stole his wife, and seeing that she had a child, and thinking it would be an incumbrance to them on their travels, he ordered her to kill it. But the mother, loving the babe, hid it under her dress, and carried it away to its grandmother. And Stone Shirt carried his captured bride to his own land.

In a few years the child grew to be a fine lad, under the care of his grandmother, and was her companion wherever she went.

One day they were digging flag roots, on the margin of the river, and putting them in a heap on the bank. When they had been at work a little while, the boy perceived that the roots came up with greater ease than was customary, and he asked the old woman the cause of this, but she did not know; and, as they continued their work, still the reeds came up with less effort, at which their wonder increased, until the grandmother said, “Surely, some strange thing is about to transpire.” Then the boy went to the heap where they had been placing the roots, and found that some one had taken them away, and he ran back, exclaiming, “Grandmother, did you take the roots away?” And she answered, “No, my child; perhaps some ghost has taken them off; let us dig no more; come away.”


But the boy was not satisfied, as he greatly desired to know what all this meant; so he searched about for a time, and at length found a man sitting under a tree, whom he taunted with being a thief, and threw mud and stones at him, until he broke the stranger’s leg, who answered not the boy, nor resented the injuries he received, but remained silent and sorrowful; and, when his leg was broken, he tied it up in sticks, and bathed it in the river, and sat down again under the tree, and beckoned the boy to approach.

When the lad came near, the stranger told him he had something of great importance to reveal. “My son,” said he, “did that old woman ever tell you about your father and mother?” “No,” answered the boy; “I have never heard of them.” “My son, do you see these bones scattered on the ground? Whose bones are these?” “How should I know?” answered the boy. “It may be that some elk or deer has been killed here.” “No,” said the old man. “Perhaps they are the bones of a bear;” but the old man shook his head. So the boy mentioned many other animals, but the stranger still shook his head, and finally said, “These are the bones of your father; Stone Shirt killed him, and left him to rot here on the ground, like a wolf.” And the boy was filled with indignation against the slayer of his father. Then the stranger asked, “Is your mother in yonder lodge?” and the boy replied, “No.” “Does your mother live on the banks of this river?” and the boy answered, “I don’t know my mother; I have never seen her; she is dead.” “My son,” replied the stranger, “Stone Shirt, who killed your father, stole your mother, and took her away to the shore of a distant lake, and there she is his wife to-day.” And the boy wept bitterly, and while the tears filled his eyes so that he could not see, the stranger disappeared.

Then the boy was filled with wonder at what he had seen and heard, and malice grew in his heart against his father’s enemy. He returned to the old woman, and said, “Grandmother, why have you lied to me about my father and mother?” and she answered not, for she knew that a ghost had told all to the boy. And the boy fell upon the ground weeping and sobbing, until he fell into a deep sleep, when strange things were told him.

His slumber continued three days and three nights, and when he awoke he said to his grandmother, “I am going away to enlist all nations in my fight,” and straightway he departed.

(Here the boy’s travels are related with many circumstances concerning the way he was received by the people, all given in a series of conversations, very lengthy; so they will be omitted.)

Finally, he returned in advance of the people whom he had enlisted, bringing with him Cĭn-au´-äv, the wolf, and To-go´-a, the rattlesnake. When the three had eaten food, the boy said to the old woman: “Grandmother, cut me in two.” But she demurred, saying she did not wish to kill one whom she loved so dearly. “Cut me in two,” demanded the boy, and he gave her a stone ax which he had brought from a distant 49 country, and with a manner of great authority he again commanded her to cut him in two. So she stood before him, and severed him in twain, and fled in terror. And lo! each part took the form of an entire man, and the one beautiful boy appeared as two, and they were so much alike no one could tell them apart.

When the people or natives whom the boy had enlisted came pouring into the camp, Cĭn-au´-äv and To-go´-a were engaged in telling them of the wonderful thing that had happened to the boy, and that now there were two; and they all held it to be an augury of a successful expedition to the land of Stone Shirt. And they started on their journey.

Now the boy had been told in the dream of his three days’ slumber of a magical cup, and he had brought it home with him from his journey among the nations, and the So´-kûs Wai´-ûn-äts carried it between them, filled with water. Cĭn-au´-äv walked on their right and To-go´-a on their left, and the nations followed in the order in which they had been enlisted. There was a vast number of them, so that when they were stretched out in line it was one day’s journey from the front to the rear of the column.

When they had journeyed two days and were far out on the desert all the people thirsted, for they found no water, and they fell down upon the sand groaning, and murmuring that they had been deceived, and they cursed the One-Two.

But the So´-kûs Wai´-ûn-äts had been told in the wonderful dream of the suffering which would be endured and that the water which they carried in the cup was only to be used in dire necessity, and the brothers said to each other: “Now the time has come for us to drink the water.” And when one had quaffed of the magical bowl, he found it still full, and he gave it to the other to drink, and still it was full; and the One-Two gave it to the people, and one after another did they all drink, and still the cup was full to the brim.

But Cĭn-au´-äv was dead, and all the people mourned, for he was a great man. The brothers held the cup over him, and sprinkled him with water, when he arose and said: “Why do you disturb me? I did have a vision of mountain brooks and meadows, of cane where honey-dew was plenty.” They gave him the cup, and he drank also; but when he had finished there was none left. Refreshed and rejoicing they proceeded on their journey.

The next day, being without food, they were hungry, and all were about to perish; and again they murmured at the brothers, and cursed them. But the So´-kûs Wai´-ûn-äts saw in the distance an antelope, standing on an eminence in the plain, in bold relief against the sky; and Cĭn-au´-äv knew it was the wonderful antelope with many eyes, which Stone Shirt kept for his watchman; and he proposed to go and kill it, but To-go´-a demurred, and said: “It were better that I should go, for he will see you and run away.” But the So´-kûs Wai´-ûn-äts told Cĭn´-au´-äv to go; and he started in a direction away to the left of where 50 the antelope was standing, that he might make a long detour about some hills, and come upon him from the other side. To-go´-a went a little way from camp, and called to the brothers: “Do you see me?” and they answered they did not. “Hunt for me;” and while they were hunting for him, the rattlesnake said: “I can see you; you are doing” —so and so, telling them what they were doing; but they could not find him.

Then, the rattlesnake came forth, declaring: “Now you know I can see others, and that I cannot be seen when I so desire. Cin-au´-äv cannot kill that antelope, for he has many eyes, and is the wonderful watchman of Stone Shirt; but I can kill him, for I can go where he is and he cannot see me.” So the brothers were convinced, and permitted him to go; and he went and killed the antelope. When Cin-au´-äv saw it fall, he was very angry, for he was extremely proud of his fame as a hunter, and anxious to have the honor of killing this famous antelope, and he ran up with the intention of killing To-go´-a; but when he drew near, and saw the antelope was fat, and would make a rich feast for the people, his anger was appeased. “What matters it,” said he, “who kills the game, when we can all eat it?”

So all the people were fed in abundance, and they proceeded on their journey.

The next day the people again suffered for water, and the magical cup was empty; but the So´-kûs Wai´-ûn-äts, having been told in their dream what to do, transformed themselves into doves, and flew away to a lake, on the margin of which was the home of Stone Shirt.

Coming near to the shore, they saw two maidens bathing in the water; and the birds stood and looked, for the maidens were very beautiful. Then they flew into some bushes, near by, to have a nearer view, and were caught in a snare which the girls had placed for intrusive birds. The beautiful maidens came up, and, taking the birds out of the snare, admired them very much, for they had never seen such birds before. They carried them to their father, Stone Shirt, who said: “My daughters, I very much fear these are spies from my enemies, for such birds do not live in our land”; and he was about to throw them into the fire, when the maidens besought him, with tears, that he would not destroy their beautiful birds; but he yielded to their entreaties with much misgiving. Then they took the birds to the shore of the lake, and set them free.

When the birds were at liberty once more, they flew around among the bushes, until they found the magical cup which they had lost, and taking it up, they carried it out into the middle of the lake and settled down upon the water, and the maidens supposed they were drowned.

The birds, when they had filled their cup, rose again, and went back to the people in the desert, where they arrived just at the right time to save them with the cup of water, from which each drank; and yet it was full until the last was satisfied, and then not a drop remained.


The brothers reported that they had seen Stone Shirt and his daughters.

The next day they came near to the home of the enemy, and the brothers, in proper person, went out to reconnoiter. Seeing a woman gleaning seeds, they drew near, and knew it was their mother, whom Stone Shirt had stolen from Sĭ-kor´, the crane. They told her they were her sons, but she denied it, and said she had never had but one son; but the boys related to her their history, with the origin of the two from one, and she was convinced. She tried to dissuade them from making war upon Stone Shirt, and told them that no arrow could possibly penetrate his armor, and that he was a great warrior, and had no other delight than in killing his enemies, and that his daughters also were furnished with magical bows and arrows, which they could shoot so fast that the arrows would fill the air like a cloud, and that it was not necessary for them to take aim, for their missiles went where they willed; they thought the arrows to the hearts of their enemies; and thus the maidens could kill the whole of the people before a common arrow could be shot by a common person. But the boys told her what the spirit had said in the long dream, and had promised that Stone Shirt should be killed. They told her to go down to the lake at dawn, so as not to be endangered by the battle.

During the night, the So´-kûs Wai´-ûn-äts transformed themselves into mice, and proceeded to the home of Stone Shirt, and found the magical bows and arrows that belonged to the maidens, and with their sharp teeth they cut the sinew on the backs of the bows, and nibbled the bow-strings, so that they were worthless, while To-go´-a hid himself under a rock near by.

When dawn came into the sky, Tûm-pwĭ-nai´-ro-gwĭ-nûmp, the Stone Shirt man, arose and walked out of his tent, exulting in his strength and security, and sat down upon the rock under which To-go´-a was hiding; and he, seeing his opportunity, sunk his fangs into the flesh of the hero. Stone Shirt sprang high into the air, and called to his daughters that they were betrayed, and that the enemy was near; and they seized their magical bows, and their quivers filled with magical arrows, and hurried to his defense. At the same time, all the nations who were surrounding the camp rushed down to battle. But the beautiful maidens, finding their weapons were destroyed, waved back their enemies, as if they would parley; and, standing for a few moments over the body of their slain father, sang the death-song, and danced the death-dance, whirling in giddy circles about the dead hero, and wailing with despair, until they sank down and expired.

The conquerers buried the maidens by the shores of the lake; but Tûm-pwĭ-nai´-ro-gwĭ-nûmp was left to rot, and his bones to bleach on the sands, as he had left Sĭ-kor´.



Ta-vwots´, the little rabbit, was wont to lie with his back to the sun when he slept. One day he thus slept in camp while his children played around him. After a time they saw that his back was smoking, and they cried out, “What is the matter with your back, father?” Startled from his sleep, he demanded to know the cause of the uproar. “Your back is covered with sores and full of holes,” they replied. Then Ta-vwots´ was very angry, for he knew that Ta´-vĭ, the sun, had burned him; and he sat down by the fire for a long time in solemn mood, pondering on the injury and insult he had received. At last rising to his feet, he said, “My children I must go and make war upon Ta´-vĭ.” And straightway he departed.

Now his camp was in the valley of the Mo-a-pa.1 On his journey he came to a hill, and standing on its summit he saw in a valley to the east a beautiful stretch of verdure, and he greatly marveled at the sight and desired to know what it was. On going down to the valley he found a corn-field, something he had never before seen, and the ears were ready for roasting. When he examined them, he saw that they were covered with beautiful hair, and he was much astonished. Then he opened the husk and found within soft white grains of corn, which he tasted. Then he knew that it was corn and good to eat. Plucking his arms full he carried them away, roasted them on a fire, and ate until he was filled.

Now, when he had done all this, he reflected that he had been stealing, and he was afraid; so he dug a hole in which to hide himself.

Cĭn-au´-äv was the owner of this field, and when he walked through and saw that his corn had been stolen, he was exceedingly wroth, and said, “I will slay this thief Ta-vwots´; I will kill him, I will kill him.” And straightway he called his warriors to him and made search for the thief, but could not find him, for he was hid in the ground. After a long time they discovered the hole and tried to shoot Ta-vwots´ as he was standing in the entrance, but he blew their arrows back. This made Cĭn-au´-äv’s people very angry and they shot many arrows, but Ta-vwots´’ breath was a warder against them all. Then, with one accord, they ran to snatch him up with their hands, but, all in confusion, they only caught each others fists, for with agile steps Ta-vwots´ dodged into his retreat. Then they began to dig, and said they would drag him out. And they labored with great energy, all the time taunting him with shouts and jeers. But Ta-vwots´ had a secret passage from the main chamber of his retreat which opened by a hole above the rock overhanging the entrance where they were at work.


When they had proceeded with this digging until they were quite under ground, Ta-vwots´, standing on the rock above, hurled the magical ball which he was accustomed to carry with him, and striking the ground above the diggers, it caved the earth in, and they were all buried. “Aha,” said he, “why do you wish to hinder me on my way to kill the Sun? A´-nier ti-tĭk´-a-nûmp kwaik-ai´-gar” (fighting is my eating tool I say; that’s so!), and he proceeded on his way musing. “I have started out to kill; vengeance is my work; every one I meet will be an enemy. It is well; no one shall escape my wrath.”

The next day he saw two men making arrow-heads of hot rocks, and drawing near he observed their work for a time from a position where he could not be seen. Then stepping forth, he said: “Let me help you”; and when the rocks were on the fire again and were hot to redness he said: “Hot rocks will not burn me.” And they laughed at him. “May be you would have us believe that you are a ghost?” “I am not a ghost,” said he, “but I am a better man than you are. Hold me on these hot rocks, and if I do not burn you must let me do the same to you.” To this they readily agreed, and when they had tried to burn him on the rocks, with his magic breath he kept them away at a distance so slight they could not see but that the rocks did really touch him. When they perceived that he was not burned they were greatly amazed and trembled with fear. But having made the promise that he should treat them in like manner, they submitted themselves to the torture, and the hot rocks burned them until with great cries they struggled to get free, but unrelenting Ta-vwots´ held them until the rocks had burned through their flesh into their entrails, and so they died. “Aha,” said Ta-vwots´, “lie there until you can get up again. I am on my way to kill the Sun. A´-nier ti-tĭk´-a-nûmp kwaik-ai´-gar.” And sounding the war-whoop he proceeded on his way.

The next day he came to where two women were gathering berries in baskets, and when he sat down they brought him some of the fruit and placed it before him. He saw there were many leaves and thorns among the berries, and he said, “Blow these leaves and thorns into my eyes,” and they did so, hoping to blind him; but with his magic breath he kept them away, so that they did not hurt him.

Then the women averred that he was a ghost. “I am no ghost,” said he, “but a common person; do you not know that leaves and thorns cannot hurt the eye? Let me show you;” and they consented and were made blind. Then Ta-vwots´ slew them with his pa-rûm´-o-kwi. “Aha,” said he, “you are caught with your own chaff. I am on my way to kill the Sun. This is good practice. I must learn how. A´-nier ti-tĭk´-a-nûmp kwaik-ai´-gar.” And sounding the war-whoop he proceeded on his way.

The next day he saw some women standing on the Hurricane Cliff, and as he approached he heard them say to each other that they would roll rocks down upon his head and kill him as he passed; and drawing near 54 he pretended to be eating something, and enjoying it with great gusto; so they asked him what it was, and he said it was something very sweet, and they begged that they might be allowed to taste of it also. “I will throw it up to you,” said he; “come to the brink and catch it.” When they had done so, he threw it up so that they could not quite reach it, and he threw it in this way many times, until, in their eagerness to secure it, they all crowded too near the brink, fell, and were killed. “Aha,” said he, “you were killed by your own eagerness. I am on my way to kill the Sun. A´-nier ti-tĭk´-a-nûmp kaiwk-ai´-gar.” And sounding the war-whoop he passed on.

The following day he saw two women fashioning water-jugs, which are made of willow-ware like baskets and afterwards lined with pitch. When afar off he could hear them converse, for he had a wonderful ear. “Here comes that bad Ta-vwots´,” said they; “how shall we destroy him?” When he came near, he said, “What was that you were saying when I came up?” “Oh, we were only saying, ‘here comes our grandson,’”2 said they. “Is that all?” replied Ta-vwots´, and looking around, he said, “Let me get into your water-jug”; and they allowed him to do so. “Now braid the neck.” This they did, making the neck very small; then they laughed with great glee, for they supposed he was entrapped. But with his magic breath he burst the jug, and stood up before them; and they exclaimed, “You must be a ghost!” but he answered, “I am no ghost. Do you not know that jugs were made to hold water, but cannot hold men and women?” At this they wondered greatly, and said he was wise. Then he proposed to put them in jugs in the same manner, in order to demonstrate to them the truth of what he had said; and they consented. When he had made the necks of the jugs and filled them with pitch, he said, “Now, jump out,” but they could not. It was now his turn to deride; so he rolled them about and laughed greatly, while their half-stifled screams rent the air. When he had sported with them in this way until he was tired, he killed them with his magical ball. “Aha,” said he, “you are bottled in your own jugs. I am on my way to kill the Sun; in good time I shall learn how. A´-nier ti-tĭk´-a-nûmp kaiwk-ai´-gar.” And sounding the war-hoop he passed on.

The next day he came upon Kwi´-ats, the bear, who was digging a hole in which to hide, for he had heard of the fame of Ta-vwots´, and was afraid. When the great slayer came to Kwi´-ats he said, “Don’t fear, my great friend; I am not the man from whom to hide. Could a little fellow like me kill so many people?” And the bear was assured. “Let me help you dig,” said Ta-vwots´,that we may hide together, for I also am fleeing from the great destroyer.” So they made a den deep in the ground, with its entrance concealed by a great rock. Now, Ta-vwots´ secretly made a private passage from the den out to the side of the mountain, and when the work was completed the two went out together to the hill-top to watch for the coming of the enemy. Soon Ta-vwots´ 55 pretended that he saw him coming, and they ran in great haste to the den. The little one outran the greater, and going into the den, hastened out again through his secret passage.

When Kwi´-ats entered he looked about, and not seeing his little friend he searched for him for some time, and still not finding him, he supposed that he must have passed him on the way, and went out again to see if he had stopped or been killed. By this time Ta-vwots´ had perched himself on the rock at the entrance of the den, and when the head of the bear protruded through the hole below he hurled his pa-rûm´-o-kwi and killed him. “Aha,” said Ta-vwots´, “I greatly feared this renowned warrior, but now he is dead in his own den. I am going to kill the Sun. A´-nier ti´-tĭk´-a´-nûmp kwaik-ai´-gar.” And sounding the war-whoop he went on his way.

The next day he met Ku-mi´-a-pöts, the tarantula. Now this knowing personage had heard of the fame of Ta-vwots´, and determined to outwit him. He was possessed of a club with such properties that, although it was a deadly weapon when used against others, it could not be made to hurt himself, though wielded by a powerful arm.

As Ta-vwots´ came near, Ku-mi´-a-pöts complained of having a headache; moaning and groaning, he said there was an u-nu´-pĭts, or little evil spirit, in his head, and he asked Ta-vwots´ to take the club and beat it out. Ta-vwots´ obeyed, and struck with all his power, and wondered that Ku-mi´-a-pöts was not killed; but he urged Ta-vwots´ to strike harder. At last Ta-vwots´ understood the nature of the club, and guessed the wiles of Ku-mi´-a-pöts, and raising the weapon as if to strike again, he dexterously substituted his magic ball and slew him. “Aha,” said he, “that is a blow of your own seeking, Ku-mi´-a-pöts. I am on my way to kill the Sun; now I know that I can do it. A´-nier ti´-tĭk´-a´-nûmp kwaik-ai´-gar.” And sounding the war-whoop he went on his way.

The next day he came to a cliff which is the edge or boundary of the world on the east, where careless persons have fallen into unknown depths below. Now to come to the summit of this cliff it is necessary to climb a mountain, and Ta-vwots´ could see three gaps or notches in the mountain, and he went up into the one on the left; and he demanded to know of all the trees which where standing by of what use they were. Each one in turn praised its own qualities, the chief of which in every case was its value as fuel.3 Ta-vwots´ shook his head and went into the center gap and had another conversation with the trees, receiving the same answer. Finally he went into the third gap—that on the right. After he had questioned all the trees and bushes, he came at last to a little one called yu´-i-nump, which modestly said it had no use, that it was not even fit for fuel. “Good,” said Ta-vwots´, and under it he lay down to sleep.


When the dawn came into the sky Ta-vwots´ arose and stood on the brink overhanging the abyss from which the Sun was about to rise. The instant it appeared he hurled his pa-rûm´-o-kwi, and, striking it full in the face, shattered it into innumerable fragments, and these fragments were scattered over all the world and kindled a great conflagration. Ta-vwots´ ran and crept under the yu´-i-nump to obtain protection. At last the fire waxed very hot over all the world, and soon Ta-vwots began to suffer and tried to run away, but as he ran his toes were burned off, and then slowly, inch by inch, his legs, and then his body, so that he walked on his hands, and these were burned, and he walked on the stumps of his arms, and these were burned, until there was nothing left but his head. And now, having no other means of progression, his head rolled along the ground until his eyes, which were much swollen, burst by striking against a rock, and the tears gushed out in a great flood which spread out over all the land and extinguished the conflagration.

The Uinta Utes add something more to this story, namely, that the flood from his eyes bore out new seeds, which were scattered over all the world. The Ute name for seed is the same as for eye.

Those animals which are considered as the descendants of Ta-vwots´ are characterized by a brown patch back of the neck and shoulders, which is attributed to the singeing received by him in the great fire.

The following apothegms are derived from this story:

“You are buried in the hole which you dug for yourself.”

“When you go to war every one you meet is an enemy; kill all.”

“You were caught with your own chaff.”

“Don’t get so anxious that you kill yourself.”

“You are bottled in your own jugs.”

“He is dead in his own den.”

“That is a blow of your own seeking.”

1. A stream in Southeastern Nevada.

2. This is a very common term of endearment used by elder to younger persons.

3. Several times I have heard this story, and invariably the dialogues held by Ta-vwots´ with the trees are long and tedious, though the trees evince some skill in their own praise.










The family Page 59
The gens 59
The phratry 60
Government 61
Civil government 61
Methods of choosing councillors 61
Functions of civil government 63
Marriage regulations 63
Name regulations 64
Regulations of personal adornment 64
Regulations of order in encampment 64
Property rights 65
Rights of persons 65
Community rights 65
Rights of religion 65
Crimes 66
Theft 66
Maiming 66
Murder 66
Treason 67
Witchcraft 67
Outlawry 67
Military government 68
Fellowhood 68





In the social organization of the Wyandots four groups are recognized—the family, the gens, the phratry, and the tribe.


The family, as the term is here used, is nearly synonymous with the household. It is composed of the persons who occupy one lodge, or, in their permanent wigwams, one section of a communal dwelling. These permanent dwellings are constructed in an oblong form, of poles interwoven with bark. The fire is placed in line along the center, and is usually built for two families, one occupying the place on each side of the fire.

The head of the family is a woman.


The gens is an organized body of consanguineal kindred in the female line. “The woman carries the gens,” is the formulated statement by which a Wyandot expresses the idea that descent is in the female line. Each gens has the name of some animal, the ancient of such animal being its tutelar god. Up to the time that the tribe left Ohio, eleven gentes were recognized, as follows:

Deer, Bear, Highland Turtle (striped), Highland Turtle (black), Mud Turtle, Smooth Large Turtle, Hawk, Beaver, Wolf, Sea Snake, and Porcupine.

In speaking of an individual he is said to be a wolf, a bear, or a deer, as the case may be, meaning thereby that he belongs to that gens; but in speaking of the body of people comprising a gens, they are said to be relatives of the wolf, the bear, or the deer, as the case may be.

There is a body of names belonging to each gens, so that each person’s name indicates the gens to which he belongs. These names are 60 derived from the characteristics, habits, attitudes, or mythologic stories connected with the tutelar god.

The following schedule presents the name of a man and a woman in each gens, as illustrating this statement:

Wun-dát English.
Man of Deer gens De-wa-tí-re Lean Deer.
Woman of Deer gens A-ya-jin-ta Spotted Fawn.
Man of Bear gens A-tu-e-tĕs Long Claws.
Woman of Bear gens Tsá-maⁿ-da-ka-é Grunting for her Young.

Man of Striped Turtle gens

Ta-há-soⁿ-ta-ra-ta-se Going Around the Lake.

Woman of Striped Turtle gens

Tso-we-yuñ-kyu Gone from the Water.
Man of Mud Turtle gens Sha-yän-tsu-wat´ Hard Skull.

Woman of Mud Turtle gens

Yaⁿ-däc-u-räs Finding Sand Beach.

Man of Smooth Large Turtle gens

Huⁿ´-du-cu-tá Throwing Sand.

Woman of Smooth Large Turtle gens

Tsu-ca-eⁿ Slow Walker.
Man of Wolf gens Ha-ró-uⁿ-yû

One who goes about in the Dark; a Prowler.

Woman of Wolf gens Yaⁿ-di-no Always Hungry.
Man of Snake gens Hu-ta-hú-sa

Sitting in curled Position.

Woman of Snake gens Di-jé-rons

One who Ripples the Water.

Man of Porcupine gens Haⁿ-dú-tuⁿ

The one who puts up Quills.

Woman of Porcupine gens Ké-ya-runs-kwa Good-Sighted.


There are four phratries in the tribe, the three gentes Bear, Deer, and Striped Turtle constituting the first; the Highland Turtle, Black Turtle, and Smooth Large Turtle the second; the Hawk, Beaver, and Wolf the third, and the Sea Snake and Porcupine the fourth.

This unit in their organization has a mythologic basis, and is chiefly used for religious purposes, in the preparation of medicines, and in festivals and games.

The eleven gentes, as four phratries, constitute the tribe.

Each gens is a body of consanguineal kindred in the female line, and each gens is allied to other gentes by consanguineal kinship through the male line, and by affinity through marriage.

To be a member of the tribe it is necessary to be a member of a gens; to be a member of a gens it is necessary to belong to some family; and to belong to a family a person must have been born in the family so that his kinship is recognized, or he must be adopted into a family and become a son, brother, or some definite relative; and this artificial relationship gives him the same standing as actual relationship in the family, in the gens, in the phratry, and in the tribe.


Thus a tribe is a body of kindred.

Of the four groups thus described, the gens, the phratry, and the tribe constitute the series of organic units; the family, or household as here described, is not a unit of the gens or phratry, as two gentes are represented in each—the father must belong to one gens, and the mother and her children to another.


Society is maintained by the establishment of government, for rights must be recognized and duties performed.

In this tribe there is found a complete differentiation of the military from the civil government.


The civil government inheres in a system of councils and chiefs.

In each gens there is a council, composed of four women, called Yu-waí-yu-wá-na. These four women councillors select a chief of the gens from its male members—that is, from their brothers and sons. This gentile chief is the head of the gentile council.

The council of the tribe is composed of the aggregated gentile councils. The tribal council, therefore, is composed one-fifth of men and four-fifths of women.

The sachem of the tribe, or tribal chief, is chosen by the chiefs of the gentes.

There is sometimes a grand council of the gens, composed of the councillors of the gens proper and all the heads of households and leading men—brothers and sons.

There is also sometimes a grand council of the tribe, composed of the council of the tribe proper and the heads of households of the tribe, and all the leading men of the tribe.

These grand councils are convened for special purposes.


The four women councillors of the gens are chosen by the heads of households, themselves being women. There is no formal election, but frequent discussion is had over the matter from time to time, in which a sentiment grows up within the gens and throughout the tribe that, in the event of the death of any councillor, a certain person will take her place.

In this manner there is usually one, two, or more potential councillors in each gens who are expected to attend all the meetings of the council, though they take no part in the deliberations and have no vote.

When a woman is installed as councillor a feast is prepared by the gens to which she belongs, and to this feast all the members of the tribe are invited. The woman is painted and dressed in her best attire and the sachem of the tribe places upon her head the gentile chaplet of feathers, and announces in a formal manner to the assembled guests that 62 the woman has been chosen a councillor. The ceremony is followed by feasting and dancing, often continued late into the night.

The gentile chief is chosen by the council women after consultation with the other women and men of the gens. Often the gentile chief is a potential chief through a period of probation. During this time he attends the meetings of the council, but takes no part in the deliberations, and has no vote.

At his installation, the council women invest him with an elaborately ornamented tunic, place upon his head a chaplet of feathers, and paint the gentile totem on his face. The sachem of the tribe then announces to the people that the man has been made chief of the gens, and admitted to the council. This is also followed by a festival.

The sachem of the tribe is selected by the men belonging to the council of the tribe. Formerly the sachemship inhered in the Bear gens, but at present he is chosen from the Deer gens, from the fact, as the Wyandots say, that death has carried away all the wise men of the Bear gens.

The chief of the Wolf gens is the herald and the sheriff of the tribe. He superintends the erection of the council-house and has the care of it. He calls the council together in a formal manner when directed by the sachem. He announces to the tribe all the decisions of the council, and executes the directions of the council and of the sachem.

Gentile councils are held frequently from day to day and from week to week, and are called by the chief whenever deemed necessary. When matters before the council are considered of great importance, a grand council of the gens may be called.

The tribal council is held regularly on the night of the full moon of each lunation and at such other times as the sachem may determine; but extra councils are usually called by the sachem at the request of a number of councilors.

Meetings of the gentile councils are very informal, but the meetings of the tribal councils are conducted with due ceremony. When all the persons are assembled, the chief of the Wolf gens calls them to order, fills and lights a pipe, sends one puff of smoke to the heavens and another to the earth. The pipe is then handed to the sachem, who fills his mouth with smoke, and, turning from left to right with the sun, slowly puffs it out over the heads of the councilors, who are sitting in a circle. He then hands the pipe to the man on his left, and it is smoked in turn by each person until it has been passed around the circle. The sachem then explains the object for which the council is called. Each person in the way and manner he chooses tells what he thinks should be done in the case. If a majority of the council is agreed as to action, the sachem does not speak, but may simply announce the decision. But in some cases there may be protracted debate, which is carried on with great deliberation. In case of a tie, the sachem is expected to speak.

It is considered dishonorable for any man to reverse his decision after having spoken.

Such are the organic elements of the Wyandot government.



It is the function of government to preserve rights and enforce the performance of duties. Rights and duties are co-relative. Rights imply duties, and duties imply rights. The right inhering in the party of the first part imposes a duty on the party of the second part. The right and its co-relative duty are inseparable parts of a relation that must be maintained by government; and the relations which governments are established to maintain may be treated under the general head of rights.

In Wyandot government these rights may be classed as follows:

First—Rights of marriage.

Second—Rights to names.

Third—Rights to personal adornments.

Fourth—Rights of order in encampments and migrations.

Fifth—Rights of property.

Sixth—Rights of person.

Seventh—Rights of community.

Eighth—Rights of religion.

To maintain rights, rules of conduct are established, not by formal enactment, but by regulated usage. Such custom-made laws may be called regulations.


Marriage between members of the same gens is forbidden, but consanguineal marriages between persons of different gentes are permitted. For example, a man may not marry his mother’s sister’s daughter, as she belongs to the same gens with himself; but he can marry his father’s sister’s daughter, because she belongs to a different gens.

Husbands retain all their rights and privileges in their own gentes, though they live with the gentes of their wives. Children, irrespective of sex, belong to the gens of the mother. Men and women must marry within the tribe. A woman taken to wife from without the tribe must first be adopted into some family of a gens other than that to which the man belongs. That a woman may take for a husband a man without the tribe he must also be adopted into the family of some gens other than that of the woman. What has been called by some ethnologists endogamy and exogamy are correlative parts of one regulation, and the Wyandots, like all other tribes of which we have any knowledge in North America, are both endogamous and exogamous.

Polygamy is permitted, but the wives must belong to different gentes. The first wife remains the head of the household. Polyandry is prohibited.

A man seeking a wife consults her mother, sometimes direct, and sometimes through his own mother. The mother of the girl advises with the women councilors to obtain their consent, and the young people 64 usually submit quietly to their decision. Sometimes the women councilors consult with the men.

When a girl is betrothed, the man makes such presents to the mother as he can. It is customary to consummate the marriage before the end of the moon in which the betrothal is made. Bridegroom and bride make promises of faithfulness to the parents and women councilors of both parties. It is customary to give a marriage feast, in which the gentes of both parties take part. For a short time at least, bride and groom live with the bride’s mother, or rather in the original household of the bride.

The time when they will set up housekeeping for themselves is usually arranged before marriage.

In the event of the death of the mother, the children belong to her sister or to her nearest female kin, the matter being settled by the council women of the gens. As the children belong to the mother, on the death of the father the mother and children are cared for by her nearest male relative until subsequent marriage.


It has been previously explained that there is a body of names, the exclusive property of each gens. Once a year, at the green-corn festival, the council women of the gens select the names for the children born during the previous year, and the chief of the gens proclaims these names at the festival. No person may change his name, but every person, man or woman, by honorable or dishonorable conduct, or by remarkable circumstance, may win a second name commemorative of deed or circumstance, which is a kind of title.


Each clan has a distinctive method of painting the face, a distinctive chaplet to be worn by the gentile chief and council women when they are inaugurated, and subsequently at festival occasions, and distinctive ornaments for all its members, to be used at festivals and religious ceremonies.


The camp of the tribe is in an open circle or horse-shoe, and the gentes camp in following order, beginning on the left and going around to the right:

Deer, Bear, Highland Turtle (striped), Highland Turtle (black), Mud Turtle, Smooth Large Turtle, Hawk, Beaver, Wolf, Sea Snake, Porcupine.

The order in which the households camp in the gentile group is regulated by the gentile councilors and adjusted from time to time in such a manner that the oldest family is placed on the left, and the youngest on the right. In migrations and expeditions the order of travel follows the analogy of encampment.



Within the area claimed by the tribe each gens occupies a smaller tract for the purpose of cultivation. The right of the gens to cultivate a particular tract is a matter settled in the council of the tribe, and the gens may abandon one tract for another only with the consent of the tribe. The women councillors partition the gentile land among the householders, and the household tracts are distinctly marked by them. The ground is re-partitioned once in two years. The heads of households are responsible for the cultivation of the tract, and should this duty be neglected the council of the gens calls the responsible parties to account.

Cultivation is communal; that is, all of the able-bodied women of the gens take part in the cultivation of each household tract in the following manner:

The head of the household sends her brother or son into the forest or to the stream to bring in game or fish for a feast; then the able-bodied women of the gens are invited to assist in the cultivation of the land, and when this work is done a feast is given.

The wigwam or lodge and all articles of the household belong to the woman—the head of the household—and at her death are inherited by her eldest daughter, or nearest of female kin. The matter is settled by the council women. If the husband die his property is inherited by his brother or his sister’s son, except such portion as may be buried with him. His property consists of his clothing, hunting and fishing implements, and such articles as are used personally by himself.

Usually a small canoe is the individual property of the man. Large canoes are made by the male members of the gentes, and are the property of the gentes.


Each individual has a right to freedom of person and security from personal and bodily injury, unless adjudged guilty of crime by proper authority.


Each gens has the right to the services of all its women in the cultivation of the soil. Each gens has the right to the service of all its male members in avenging wrongs, and the tribe has the right to the service of all its male members in time of war.


Each phratry has the right to certain religious ceremonies and the preparation of certain medicines.

Each gens has the exclusive right to worship its tutelar god, and each individual has the exclusive right to the possession and use of a particular amulet.



The violations of right are crimes. Some of the crimes recognized by the Wyandots are as follows:

1. Adultery.

2. Theft.

3. Maiming.

4. Murder.

5. Treason.

6. Witchcraft.

A maiden guilty of fornication may be punished by her mother or female guardian, but if the crime is flagrant and repeated, so as to become a matter of general gossip, and the mother fails to correct it, the matter may be taken up by the council women of the gens.

A woman guilty of adultery, for the first offense is punished by having her hair cropped; for repeated offenses her left ear is cut off.


The punishment for theft is twofold restitution. When the prosecutor and prosecuted belong to the same gens, the trial is before the council of the gens, and from it there is no appeal. If the parties involved are of different gentes, the prosecutor, through the head of his household, lays the matter before the council of his own gens; by it the matter is laid before the gentile council of the accused in a formal manner. Thereupon it becomes the duty of the council of the accused to investigate the facts for themselves, and to settle the matter with the council of the plaintiff. Failure thus to do is followed by retaliation in the seizing of any property of the gens which may be found.


Maiming is compounded, and the method of procedure in prosecution is essentially the same as for theft.


In the case of murder, if both parties are members of the same gens, the matter is tried by the gentile council on complaint of the head of the household, but there may be an appeal to the council of the tribe. Where the parties belong to different gentes, complaint is formally made by the injured party, through the chief of his gens, in the following manner:

A wooden tablet is prepared, upon which is inscribed the totem or heraldic emblem of the injured man’s gens, and a picture-writing setting forth the offense follows.

The gentile chief appears before the chief of the council of the offender, and formally states the offense, explaining the picture-writing, which is then delivered.

A council of the offender’s gens is thereupon called and a trial is held. It is the duty of this council to examine the evidence for themselves and 67 to come to a conclusion without further presentation of the matter on the part of the person aggrieved. Having decided the matter among themselves, they appear before the chief of the council of the aggrieved party to offer compensation.

If the gens of the offender fail to settle the matter with the gens of the aggrieved party, it is the duty of his nearest relative to avenge the wrong. Either party may appeal to the council of the tribe. The appeal must be made in due form, by the presentation of a tablet of accusation.

Inquiry into the effect of a failure to observe prescribed formalities developed an interesting fact. In procedure against crime, failure in formality is not considered a violation of the rights of the accused, but proof of his innocence. It is considered supernatural evidence that the charges are false. In trials for all offenses forms of procedure are, therefore, likely to be earnestly questioned.


Treason consists in revealing the secrets of the medicine preparations or giving other information or assistance to enemies of the tribe, and is punished by death. The trial is before the council of the tribe.


Witchcraft is punished by death, stabbing, tomahawking, or burning. Charges of witchcraft are investigated by the grand council of the tribe. When the accused is adjudged guilty, he may appeal to supernatural judgment. The test is by fire. A circular fire is built on the ground, through which the accused must run from east and west and from north to south. If no injury is received he is adjudged innocent; if he falls into the fire he is adjudged guilty. Should a person accused or having the general reputation of practicing witchcraft become deaf, blind, or have sore eyes, earache, headache, or other diseases considered loathsome, he is supposed to have failed in practicing his arts upon others, and to have fallen a victim to them himself. Such cases are most likely to be punished.


The institution of outlawry exists among the Wyandots in a peculiar form. An outlaw is one who by his crimes has placed himself without the protection of his clan. A man can be declared an outlaw by his own clan, who thus publish to the tribe that they will not defend him in case he is injured by another. But usually outlawry is declared only after trial before the tribal council.

The method of procedure is analogous to that in case of murder. When the person has been adjudged guilty and sentence of outlawry declared, it is the duty of the chief of the Wolf clan to make known the decision of the council. This he does by appearing before each clan in the order 68 of its encampment, and declaring in terms the crime of the outlaw and the sentence of outlawry, which may be either of two grades.

In the lowest grade it is declared that if the man shall thereafter continue in the commission of similar crimes, it will be lawful for any person to kill him; and if killed, rightfully or wrongfully, his clan will not avenge his death.

Outlawry of the highest degree makes it the duty of any member of the tribe who may meet with the offender to kill him.


The management of military affairs inheres in the military council and chief. The military council is composed of all the able-bodied men of the tribe; the military chief is chosen by the council from the Porcupine gens. Each gentile chief is responsible for the military training of the youth under his authority. There is usually one or more potential military chiefs, who are the close companions and assistants of the chief in time of war, and in case of the death of the chief, take his place in the order of seniority.

Prisoners of war are adopted into the tribe or killed. To be adopted into the tribe, it is necessary that the prisoner should be adopted into some family. The warrior taking the prisoner has the first right to adopt him, and his male or female relatives have the right in the order of their kinship. If no one claims the prisoner for this purpose, he is caused to run the gauntlet as a test of his courage.

If at his trial he behaves manfully, claimants are not wanting, but if he behaves disgracefully he is put to death.


There is an interesting institution found among the Wyandots, as among some other of our North American tribes, namely, that of fellowhood. Two young men agree to be perpetual friends to each other, or more than brothers. Each reveals to the other the secrets of his life, and counsels with him on matters of importance, and defends him from wrong and violence, and at his death is chief mourner.

The government of the Wyandots, with the social organization upon which it is based, affords a typical example of tribal government throughout North America. Within that area there are several hundred distinct governments. In so great a number there is great variety, and in this variety we find different degrees of organization, the degrees of organization being determined by the differentiation of the functions of the government and the correlative specialization of organic elements.

Much has yet to be done in the study of these governments before safe generalizations may be made. But enough is known to warrant the following statement:

Tribal government in North America is based on kinship in that the fundamental units of social organization are bodies of consanguineal 69 kindred either in the male or female line; these units being what has been well denominated “gentes.”

These “gentes” are organized into tribes by ties of relationship and affinity, and this organization is of such a character that the man’s position in the tribe is fixed by his kinship. There is no place in a tribe for any person whose kinship is not fixed, and only those persons can be adopted into the tribe who are adopted into some family with artificial kinship specified. The fabric of Indian society is a complex tissue of kinship. The warp is made of streams of kinship blood, and the woof of marriage ties.

With most tribes military and civil affairs are differentiated. The functions of civil government are in general differentiated only to this extent, that executive functions are performed by chiefs and sachems, but these chiefs and sachems are also members of the council. The council is legislature and court. Perhaps it were better to say that the council is the court whose decisions are law, and that the legislative body properly has not been developed.

In general, crimes are well defined. Procedure is formal, and forms are held as of such importance that error therein is prima facie evidence that the subject-matter formulated was false.

When one gens charges crime against a member of another, it can of its own motion proceed only to retaliation. To prevent retaliation, the gens of the offender must take the necessary steps to disprove the crime, or to compound or punish it. The charge once made is held as just and true until it has been disproved, and in trial the cause of the defendant is first stated. The anger of the prosecuting gens must be placated.

In the tribal governments there are many institutions, customs, and traditions which give evidence of a former condition in which society was based not upon kinship, but upon marriage.

From a survey of the facts it seems highly probably that kinship society, as it exists among the tribes of North America, has developed from connubial society, which is discovered elsewhere on the globe. In fact, there are a few tribes that seem scarcely to have passed that indefinite boundary between the two social states. Philologic research leads to the same conclusion.

Nowhere in North America have a people been discovered who have passed beyond tribal society to national society based on property, i.e., that form of society which is characteristic of civilization. Some peoples may not have reached kinship society; none have passed it.

Nations with civilized institutions, art with palaces, monotheism as the worship of the Great Spirit, all vanish from the priscan condition of North America in the light of anthropologic research. Tribes with the social institutions of kinship, art with its highest architectural development exhibited in the structure of communal dwellings, and polytheism in the worship of mythic animals and nature-gods remain.











Archæology Page 73
Picture writing 75

History, customs, and ethnic characteristics

Origin of man 77
Language 78
Mythology 81
Sociology 83
Psychology 83





Investigations in this department are of great interest, and have attracted to the field a host of workers; but a general review of the mass of published matter exhibits the fact that the uses to which the material has been put have not always been wise.

In the monuments of antiquity found throughout North America, in camp and village sites, graves, mounds, ruins, and scattered works of art, the origin and development of art in savage and barbaric life may be satisfactorily studied. Incidentally, too, hints of customs may be discovered, but outside of this, the discoveries made have often been illegitimately used, especially for the purpose of connecting the tribes of North America with peoples or so-called races of antiquity in other portions of the world. A brief review of some conclusions that must be accepted in the present status of the science will exhibit the futility of these attempts.

It is now an established fact that man was widely scattered over the earth at least as early as the beginning of the quaternary period, and, perhaps, in pliocene time.

If we accept the conclusion that there is but one species of man, as species are now defined by biologists, we may reasonably conclude that the species has been dispersed from some common center, as the ability to successfully carry on the battle of life in all climes belongs only to a highly developed being; but this original home has not yet been ascertained with certainty, and when discovered, lines of migration therefrom cannot be mapped until the changes in the physical geography of the earth from that early time to the present have been discovered, and these must be settled upon purely geologic and paleontologic evidence. The migrations of mankind from that original home cannot be intelligently discussed until that home has been discovered, and, further, until the geology of the globe is so thoroughly known that the different phases of its geography can be presented.

The dispersion of man must have been anterior to the development of any but the rudest arts. Since that time the surface of the earth 74 has undergone many and important changes. All known camp and village sites, graves, mounds, and ruins belong to that portion of geologic time known as the present epoch, and are entirely subsequent to the period of the original dispersion as shown by geologic evidence.

In the study of these antiquities, there has been much unnecessary speculation in respect to the relation existing between the people to whose existence they attest, and the tribes of Indians inhabiting the country during the historic period.

It may be said that in the Pueblos discovered in the southwestern portion of the United States and farther south through Mexico and perhaps into Central America tribes are known having a culture quite as far advanced as any exhibited in the discovered ruins. In this respect, then, there is no need to search for an extra-limital origin through lost tribes for any art there exhibited.

With regard to the mounds so widely scattered between the two oceans, it may also be said that mound-building tribes were known in the early history of discovery of this continent, and that the vestiges of art discovered do not excel in any respect the arts of the Indian tribes known to history. There is, therefore, no reason for us to search for an extra-limital origin through lost tribes for the arts discovered in the mounds of North America.

The tracing of the origin of these arts to the ancestors of known tribes or stocks of tribes is more legitimate, but it has limitations which are widely disregarded. The tribes which had attained to the highest culture in the southern portion of North America are now well known to belong to several different stocks, and, if, for example, an attempt is made to connect the mound-builders with the Pueblo Indians, no result beyond confusion can be reached until the particular stock of these village peoples is designated.

Again, it is contained in the recorded history of the country that several distinct stocks of the present Indians were mound-builders and the wide extent and vast number of mounds discovered in the United States should lead us to suspect, at least, that the mound-builders of pre-historic times belonged to many and diverse stocks. With the limitations thus indicated the identification of mound-building peoples as distinct tribes or stocks is a legitimate study, but when we consider the further fact now established, that arts extend beyond the boundaries of linguistic stocks, the most fundamental divisions we are yet able to make of the peoples of the globe, we may more properly conclude that this field promises but a meager harvest; but the origin and development of arts and industries is in itself a vast and profoundly interesting theme of study, and when North American archæology is pursued with this end in view, the results will be instructive.



The pictographs of North America were made on divers substances. The bark of trees, tablets of wood, the skins of animals, and the surfaces of rocks were all used for this purpose; but the great body of picture-writing as preserved to us is found on rock surfaces, as these are the most enduring.

From Dighton Rock to the cliffs that overhang the Pacific, these records are found—on bowlders fashioned by the waves of the sea, scattered by river floods, or polished by glacial ice; on stones buried in graves and mounds; on faces of rock that appear in ledges by the streams; on cañon walls and towering cliffs; on mountain crags and the ceilings of caves—wherever smooth surfaces of rock are to be found in North America, there we may expect to find pictographs. So widely distributed and so vast in number, it is well to know what purposes they may serve in anthropologic science.

Many of these pictographs are simply pictures, rude etchings, or paintings, delineating natural objects, especially animals, and illustrate simply the beginning of pictorial art; others we know were intended to commemorate events or to represent other ideas entertained by their authors; but to a large extent these were simply mnemonic—not conveying ideas of themselves, but designed more thoroughly to retain in memory certain events or thoughts by persons who were already cognizant of the same through current hearsay or tradition. If once the memory of the thought to be preserved has passed from the minds of men, the record is powerless to restore its own subject-matter to the understanding.

The great body of picture-writings is thus described; yet to some slight extent pictographs are found with characters more or less conventional, and the number of such is quite large in Mexico and Central America. Yet even these conventional characters are used with others less conventional in such a manner that perfect records were never made.

Hence it will be seen that it is illegitimate to use any pictographic matter of a date anterior to the discovery of the continent by Columbus for historic purposes; but it has a legitimate use of profound interest, as these pictographs exhibit the beginning of written language and the beginning of pictorial art, yet undifferentiated; and if the scholars of America will collect and study the vast body of this material scattered everywhere—over the valleys and on the mountain sides—from it can be written one of the most interesting chapters in the early history of mankind.



When America was discovered by Europeans, it was inhabited by great numbers of distinct tribes, diverse in languages, institutions, and customs. This fact has never been fully recognized, and writers have too often spoken of the North American Indians as a body, supposing that statements made of one tribe would apply to all. This fundamental error in the treatment of the subject has led to great confusion.

Again, the rapid progress in the settlement and occupation of the country has resulted in the gradual displacement of the Indian tribes, so that very many have been removed from their ancient homes, some of whom have been incorporated into other tribes, and some have been absorbed into the body of civilized people.

The names by which tribes have been designated have rarely been names used by themselves, and the same tribe has often been designated by different names in different periods of its history and by different names in the same period of its history by colonies of people having different geographic relations to them. Often, too, different tribes have been designated by the same name. Without entering into an explanation of the causes which have led to this condition of things, it is simply necessary to assert that this has led to great confusion of nomenclature. Therefore the student of Indian history must be constantly on his guard in accepting the statements of any author relating to any tribe of Indians.

It will be seen that to follow any tribe of Indians through post-Columbian times is a task of no little difficulty. Yet this portion of history is of importance, and the scholars of America have a great work before them.

Three centuries of intimate contact with a civilized race has had no small influence upon the pristine condition of these savage and barbaric tribes. The most speedy and radical change was that effected in the arts, industrial and ornamental. A steel knife was obviously better than a stone knife; firearms than bows and arrows; and textile fabrics from the looms of civilized men are at once seen to be more beautiful and more useful than the rude fabrics and undressed skins with which the Indians clothed themselves in that earlier day.

Customs and institutions changed less rapidly. Yet these have been much modified. Imitation and vigorous propagandism have been more or less efficient causes. Migrations and enforced removals placed tribes under conditions of strange environment where new customs and institutions were necessary, and in this condition civilization had a greater influence, and the progress of occupation by white men within the territory of the United States, at least, has reached such a stage that savagery and barbarism have no room for their existence, and even customs 77 and institutions must in a brief time be completely changed, and what we are yet to learn of these people must be learned now.

But in pursuing these studies the greatest caution must be observed in discriminating what is primitive from what has been acquired from civilized man by the various processes of acculturation.


Working naturalists postulate evolution. Zoölogical research is largely directed to the discovery of the genetic relations of animals. The evolution of the animal kingdom is along multifarious lines and by diverse specializations. The particular line which connects man with the lowest forms, through long successions of intermediate forms, is a problem of great interest. This special investigation has to deal chiefly with relations of structure. From the many facts already recorded, it is probable that many detached portions of this line can be drawn, and such a construction, though in fact it may not be correct in all its parts, yet serves a valuable purpose in organizing and directing research.

The truth or error of such hypothetic genealogy in no way affects the validity of the doctrines of evolution in the minds of scientific men, but on the other hand the value of the tentative theory is brought to final judgment under the laws of evolution.

It would be vain to claim that the course of zoölogic development is fully understood, or even that all of its most important factors are known. So the discovery of facts and relations guided by the doctrines of evolution reacts upon these doctrines, verifying, modifying, and enlarging them. Thus it is that while the doctrines lead the way to new fields of discovery, the new discoveries lead again to new doctrines. Increased knowledge widens philosophy; wider philosophy increases knowledge.

It is the test of true philosophy that it leads to the discovery of facts, and facts themselves can only be known as such; that is, can only be properly discerned and discriminated by being relegated to their places in philosophy. The whole progress of science depends primarily upon this relation between knowledge and philosophy.

In the earlier history of mankind philosophy was the product of subjective reasoning, giving mythologies and metaphysics. When it was discovered that the whole structure of philosophy was without foundation, a new order of procedure was recommended—the Baconian method. Perception must precede reflection; observation must precede reason. This also was a failure. The earlier gave speculations; the later give a mass of incoherent facts and falsehoods. The error in the earlier philosophy was not in the order of procedure between perception and reflection, but in the method, it being subjective instead of objective. The method of reasoning in scientific philosophy is purely objective; the method of reasoning in mythology and metaphysics is subjective.


The difference between man and the animals most nearly related to him in structure is great. The connecting forms are no longer extant. This subject of research, therefore, belongs to the paleontologists rather than the ethnologists. The biological facts are embraced in the geological record, and this record up to the present time has yielded but scant materials to serve in its solution.

It is known that man, highly differentiated from lower animals in morphologic characteristics, existed in early Quaternary and perhaps in Pliocene times, and here the discovered record ends.


In philology, North America presents the richest field in the world, for here is found the greatest number of languages distributed among the greatest number of stocks. As the progress of research is necessarily from the known to the unknown, civilized languages were studied by scholars before the languages of savage and barbaric tribes. Again, the higher languages are written and are thus immediately accessible. For such reasons, chief attention has been given to the most highly developed languages. The problems presented to the philologist, in the higher languages, cannot be properly solved without a knowledge of the lower forms. The linguist studies a language that he may use it as an instrument for the interchange of thought; the philologist studies a language to use its data in the construction of a philosophy of language. It is in this latter sense that the higher languages are unknown until the lower languages are studied, and it is probable that more light will be thrown upon the former by a study of the latter than by more extended research in the higher.

The vast field of unwritten languages has been explored but not surveyed. In a general way it is known that there are many such languages, and the geographic distribution of the tribes of men who speak them is known, but scholars have just begun the study of the languages.

That the knowledge of the simple and uncompounded must precede the knowledge of the complex and compounded, that the latter may be rightly explained, is an axiom well recognized in biology, and it applies equally well to philology. Hence any system of philology, as the term is here used, made from a survey of the higher languages exclusively, will probably be a failure. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature,” and which of you by taking thought can add the antecedent phenomena necessary to an explanation of the language of Plato or of Spencer?

The study of astronomy, geology, physics, and biology, is in the hands of scientific men; objective methods of research are employed and metaphysic disquisitions find no place in the accepted philosophies; 79 but to a large extent philology remains in the hands of the metaphysicians, and subjective methods of thought are used in the explanation of the phenomena observed. If philology is to be a science it must have an objective philosophy composed of a homologic classification and orderly arrangement of the phenomena of the languages of the globe.

Philologic research began with the definite purpose in view to discover in the diversities of language among the peoples of the earth a common element from which they were all supposed to have been derived, an original speech, the parent of all languages. In this philologists had great hopes of success at one time, encouraged by the discovery of the relation between the diverse branches of the Aryan stock, but in this very work methods of research were developed and doctrines established by which unexpected results were reached.

Instead of relegating the languages that had before been unclassified to the Aryan family, new families or stocks were discovered, and this process has been carried on from year to year until scores or even hundreds of families are recognized, and until we may reasonably conclude that there was no single primitive speech common to mankind, but that man had multiplied and spread throughout the habitable earth anterior to the development of organized languages; that is, languages have sprung from innumerable sources after the dispersion of mankind.

The progress in language has not been by multiplication, which would be but a progress in degradation under the now well-recognized laws of evolution; but it has been in integration from a vast multiplicity toward a unity. True, all evolution has not been in this direction. There has often been degradation as exhibited in the multiplicity of languages and dialects of the same stock, but evolution has in the aggregate been integration by progress towards unity of speech, and differentiation (which must always be distinguished from multiplication) by specialization of the grammatic process and the development of the parts of speech.

When a people once homogeneous are separated geographically in such a manner that thorough inter-communication is no longer preserved, all of the agencies by which languages change act separately in the distinct communities and produce different changes therein, and dialects are established. If the separation continues, such dialects become distinct languages in the sense that the people of one community are unable to understand the people of another. But such a development of languages is not differentiation in the sense in which this term is here used, and often used in biology, but is analogous to multiplication as understood in biology. The differentiation of an organ is its development for a special purpose, i.e., the organic specialization is concomitant with functional specialization. When paws are differentiated into hands and feet, with the differentiation of the organs, there is a concomitant differentiation in the functions.


When one language becomes two, the same function is performed by each, and is marked by the fundamental characteristic of multiplication, i.e., degradation; for the people originally able to communicate with each other can no longer thus communicate; so that two languages do not serve as valuable a purpose as one. And, further, neither of the two languages has made the progress one would have made, for one would have been developed sufficiently to serve all the purposes of the united peoples in the larger area inhabited by them, and, cæteris paribus, the language spoken by many people scattered over a large area must be superior to one spoken by a few people inhabiting a small area.

It would have been strange, indeed, had the primitive assumption in philology been true, and the history of language exhibited universal degradation.

In the remarks on the “Origin of Man,” the statement was made that mankind was distributed throughout the habitable earth, in some geological period anterior to the present and anterior to the development of other than the rudest arts. Here, again, we reach the conclusion that man was distributed throughout the earth anterior to the development of organized speech.

In the presence of these two great facts, the difficulty of tracing genetic relationship among human races through arts, customs, institutions, and traditions will appear, for all of these must have been developed after the dispersion of mankind. Analogies and homologies in these phenomena must be accounted for in some other way. Somatology proves the unity of the human species; that is, the evidence upon which this conclusion is reached is morphologic; but in arts, customs, institutions, and traditions abundant corroborative evidence is found. The individuals of the one species, though inhabiting diverse climes, speaking diverse languages, and organized into diverse communities, have progressed in a broad way by the same stages, have had the same arts, customs, institutions, and traditions in the same order, limited only by the degree of progress to which the several tribes have attained, and modified only to a limited extent by variations in environment.

If any ethnic classification of mankind is to be established more fundamental than that based upon language, it must be upon physical characteristics, and such must have been acquired by profound differentiation anterior to the development of languages, arts, customs, institutions, and traditions. The classifications hitherto made on this basis are unsatisfactory, and no one now receives wide acceptance. Perhaps further research will clear up doubtful matters and give an acceptable grouping; or it may be that such research will result only in exhibiting the futility of the effort.

The history of man, from the lowest tribal condition to the highest national organization, has been a history of constant and multifarious admixture of strains of blood; of admixture, absorption, and destruction of languages with general progress toward unity; of the diffusion 81 of arts by various processes of acculturation; and of admixture and reciprocal diffusion of customs, institutions, and traditions. Arts, customs, institutions, and traditions extend beyond the boundaries of languages and serve to obscure them, and the admixture of strains of blood has obscured primitive ethnic divisions, if such existed.

If the physical classification fails, the most fundamental grouping left is that based on language; but for the reasons already mentioned and others of like character, the classification of languages is not, to the full extent, a classification of peoples.

It may be that the unity of the human race is a fact so profound that all attempts at a fundamental classification to be used in all the departments of anthropology will fail, and that there will remain multifarious groupings for the multifarious purposes of the science; or, otherwise expressed, that languages, arts, customs, institutions, and traditions may be classified, and that the human family will be considered as one race.


Here again America presents a rich field for the scientific explorer. It is now known that each linguistic stock has a distinct mythology, and as in some of these stocks there are many languages differing to a greater or less extent, so there are many like differing mythologies.

As in language, so in mythology, investigation has proceeded from the known to the unknown—from the higher to the lower mythologies. In each step of the progress of opinion on this subject a particular phenomenon may be observed. As each lower status of mythology is discovered it is assumed to be the first in origin, the primordial mythology, and all lower but imperfectly understood mythologies are interpreted as degradations, from this assumed original belief; thus polytheism was interpreted as a degeneracy from monotheism; nature worship, from psychotheism; zoölotry, from ancestor worship; and, in order, monotheism has been held to be the original mythology, then polytheism, then physitheism or nature worship, then ancestor worship.

With a large body of mythologists nature worship is now accepted as the primitive religion; and with another body, equally as respectable, ancestor worship is primordial. But nature worship and ancestor worship are concomitant parts of the same religion, and belong to a status of culture highly advanced and characterized by the invention of conventional pictographs. In North America we have scores or even hundreds of systems of mythology, all belonging to a lower state of culture.

Let us hope that American students will not fall into this line of error by assuming that zoötheism is the lowest stage, because this is the status of mythology most widely spread on the continent.

Mythology is primitive philosophy. A mythology—that is, the body 82 of myths current among any people and believed by them—comprises a system of explanations of all the phenomena of the universe discerned by them; but such explanations are always mixed with much extraneous matter, chiefly incidents in the history of the personages who were the heroes of mythologic deeds.

Every mythology has for its basis a theology—a system of gods who are the actors, and to whom are attributed the phenomena to be explained—for the fundamental postulate in mythology is “some one does it,” such being the essential characteristic of subjective reasoning. As peoples pass from one stage of culture to another, the change is made by developing a new sociology with all its institutions, by the development of new arts, by evolution of language, and, in a degree no less, by a change in philosophy; but the old philosophy is not supplanted. The change is made by internal growth and external accretion.

Fragments of the older are found in the newer. This older material in the newer philosophy is often used for curious purposes by many scholars. One such use I wish to mention here. The nomenclature which has survived from the earlier state is supposed to be deeply and occultly symbolic and the mythic narratives to be deeply and occultly allegoric. In this way search is made for some profoundly metaphysic cosmogony; some ancient beginning of the mythology is sought in which mystery is wisdom and wisdom is mystery.

The objective or scientific method of studying a mythology is to collect and collate its phenomena simply as it is stated and understood by the people to whom it belongs. In tracing back the threads of its historical development the student should expect to find it more simple and childlike in every stage of his progress.

It is vain to search for truth in mythologic philosophy, but it is important to search for veritable philosphies, that they may be properly compared and that the products of the human mind in its various stages of culture may be known; important in the reconstruction of the history of philosophy; and important in furnishing necessary data to psychology. No labor can be more fruitless than the search in mythology for true philosophy; and the efforts to build up from the terminology and narratives of mythologies an occult symbolism and system of allegory is but to create a new and fictitious body of mythology.

There is a symbolism inherent in language and found in all philosophy, true or false, and such symbolism was cultivated as an occult art in the early history of civilization when picture-writing developed into conventional writing, and symbolism is an interesting subject for study, but it has been made a beast of burden to carry packs of metaphysic nonsense.



Here again North America presents a wide and interesting field to the investigator, for it has within its extent many distinct governments, and these governments, so far as investigations have been carried, are found to belong to a type more primitive than any of the feudalities from which the civilized nations of the earth sprang, as shown by concurrently recorded history.

Yet in this history many facts have been discovered suggesting that feudalities themselves had an origin in something more primitive. In the study of the tribes of the world a multitude of sociologic institutions and customs have been discovered, and in reviewing the history of feudalities it is seen that many of their important elements are survivals from tribal society.

So important are these discoveries that all human history has to be rewritten, the whole philosophy of history reconstructed. Government does not begin in the ascendency of chieftains through prowess in war, but in the slow specialization of executive functions from communal associations based on kinship. Deliberative assemblies do not start in councils gathered by chieftains, but councils precede chieftaincies. Law does not begin in contract, but is the development of custom. Land tenure does not begin in grants from the monarch or the feudal lord, but a system of tenure in common by gentes or tribes is developed into a system of tenure in severalty. Evolution in society has not been from militancy to industrialism, but from organization based on kinship to organization based on property, and alongside of the specializations of the industries of peace the arts of war have been specialized.

So, one by one, the theories of metaphysical writers on sociology are overthrown, and the facts of history are taking their place, and the philosophy of history is being erected out of materials accumulating by objective studies of mankind


Psychology has hitherto been chiefly in the hands of subjective philosophers and is the last branch of anthropology to be treated by scientific methods. But of late years sundry important labors have been performed with the end in view to give this department of philosophy a basis of objective facts; especially the organ of the mind has been studied and the mental operations of animals have been compared with 84 those of men, and in various other ways the subject is receiving scientific attention.

The new psychology in process of construction will have a threefold basis: A physical basis on phenomena presented by the organ of the mind as shown in man and the lower animals; a linguistic basis as presented in the phenomena of language, which is the instrument of mind; a functional basis as exhibited in operations of the mind.

The phenomena of the third class may be arranged in three subclasses. First, the operations of mind exhibited in individuals in various stages of growth, various degrees of culture, and in various conditions, normal and abnormal; second, the operations of mind as exhibited in technology, arts, and industries; third, the operations of mind as exhibited in philosophy; and these are the explanations given of the phenomena of the universe. On such a basis a scientific psychology must be erected.

As methods of study are discovered, a vast field opens to the American scholar. Now, as at all times in the history of civilization, there has been no lack of interest in this subject, and no lack of speculative writers; but there is a great want of trained observers and acute investigators.

If we lay aside the mass of worthless matter which has been published, and consider only the material used by the most careful writers, we find on every hand that conclusions are vitiated by a multitude of errors of fact of a character the most simple. Yesterday I read an article on the “Growth of Sculpture,” by Grant Allen, that was charming; yet, therein I found this statement:

So far as I know, the Polynesians and many other savages have not progressed beyond the full-face stage of human portraiture above described. Next in rank comes the drawing of a profile, as we find it among the Eskimos and the bushmen. Our own children soon attain to this level, which is one degree higher than that of the full face, as it implies a special point of view, suppresses half the features, and is not diagrammatic or symbolical of all the separate parts. Negroes and North American Indians cannot understand profile; they ask what has become of the other eye.

Perhaps Mr. Allen derives his idea of the inability of the Indians to understand profiles from a statement of Catlin, which I have seen used for this and other purposes by different anthropologists until it seems to have become a favorite fact.

Turning to Catlin’s Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians, (vol. 2, page 2) we find him saying:

After I had painted these, and many more whom I have not time at present to name, I painted the portrait of a celebrated warrior of the Sioux, by the name of Mah-to-chee-ga (the Little Bear), who was unfortunately slain in a few moments after the picture was done by one of his own tribe; and which was very near costing me my life, for having painted a side view of his face, leaving one-half of it out of the picture, 85 which had been the cause of the affray; and supposed by the whole tribe to have been intentionally left out by me, as “good for nothing.” This was the last picture that I painted amongst the Sioux, and the last, undoubtedly, that I shall ever paint in that place. So tremendous and so alarming was the excitement about it that my brushes were instantly put away, and I embarked the next day on the steamer for the sources of the Missouri, and was glad to get underweigh.

Subsequently, Mr. Catlin elaborates this incident into the “Story of the Dog” (vol. 2, page 188 et seq.).

Now, whatsoever of truth or of fancy there may be in this story, it cannot be used as evidence that the Indians could not understand or interpret profile pictures, for Mr. Catlin himself gives several plates of Indian pictographs exhibiting profile faces. In my cabinet of pictographs I have hundreds of side views made by Indians of the same tribe of which Mr. Catlin was speaking.

It should never be forgotten that accounts of travelers and other persons who write for the sake of making good stories must be used with the utmost caution. Catlin is only one of a thousand such who can be used with safety only by persons so thoroughly acquainted with the subject that they are able to divide facts actually observed from creations of fancy. But Mr. Catlin must not be held responsible for illogical deductions even from his facts. I know not how Mr. Allen arrived at his conclusion, but I do know that pictographs in profile are found among very many, if not all, the tribes of North America.

Now, for another example. Peschel, in The Races of Man (page 151), says:

The transatlantic history of Spain has no case comparable in iniquity to the act of the Portuguese in Brazil, who deposited the clothes of scarlet-fever or small-pox patients on the hunting grounds of the natives, in order to spread the pestilence among them; and of the North Americans, who used strychnine to poison the wells which the Redskins were in the habit of visiting in the deserts of Utah; of the wives of Australian settlers, who, in times of famine, mixed arsenic with the meal which they gave to starving natives.

In a foot-note on the same page, Burton is given as authority for the statement that the people of the United States poisoned the wells of the redskins.

Referring to Burton, in The City of the Saints (page 474), we find him saying:

The Yuta claim, like the Shoshonee, descent from an ancient people that immigrated into their present seats from the Northwest. During the last thirty years they have considerably decreased, according to the mountaineers, and have been demoralized mentally and physically by the emigrants. Formerly they were friendly, now they are often at war with the intruders. As in Australia, arsenic and corrosive sublimate in springs and provisions have diminished their number.

Now, why did Burton make this statement? In the same volume he describes the Mountain Meadow massacre, and gives the story as related by the actors therein. It is well known that the men who were engaged in this affair tried to shield themselves by diligently publishing that it was a massacre by Indians incensed at the travelers because they had poisoned certain springs at which the Indians were wont to obtain their 86 supplies of water. When Mr. Burton was in Salt Lake City he, doubtless, heard these stories.

So the falsehoods of a murderer, told to hide his crime, have gone into history as facts characteristic of the people of the United States in their treatment of the Indians. In the paragraph quoted from Burton some other errors occur. The Utes and Shoshonis do not claim to have descended from an ancient people that immigrated into their present seats from the Northwest. Most of these tribes, perhaps all, have myths of their creation in the very regions now inhabited by them.

Again, these Indians have not been demoralized mentally or physically by the emigrants, but have made great progress toward civilization.

The whole account of the Utes and Shoshonis given in this portion of the book is so mixed with error as to be valueless, and bears intrinsic evidence of having been derived from ignorant frontiersmen.

Turning now to the first volume of Spencer’s Principles of Sociology (page 149), we find him saying:

And thus prepared, we need feel no surprise on being told that the Zuni Indians require “much facial contortion and bodily gesticulation to make their sentences perfectly intelligible;” that the language of the Bushman needs so many signs to eke out its meaning, that “they are unintelligible in the dark;” and that the Arapahos “can hardly converse with one another in the dark.”

When people of different languages meet, especially if they speak languages of different stocks, a means of communication is rapidly established between them, composed partly of signs and partly of oral words, the latter taken from one or both of the languages, but curiously modified so as hardly to be recognized. Such conventional languages are usually called “jargons,” and their existence is rather brief.

When people communicate with each other in this manner, oral speech is greatly assisted by sign-language, and it is true that darkness impedes their communication. The great body of frontiersmen in America who associate more or less with the Indians depend upon jargon methods of communication with them; and so we find that various writers and travelers describe Indian tongues by the characteristics of this jargon speech. Mr. Spencer usually does.

The Zuni and the Arapaho Indians have a language with a complex grammar and copious vocabulary well adapted to the expression of the thoughts incident to their customs and status of culture, and they have no more difficulty in conveying their thoughts with their language by night than Englishmen have in conversing without gaslight. An example from each of three eminent authors has been taken to illustrate the worthlessness of a vast body of anthropologic material to which even the best writers resort.

Anthropology needs trained devotees with philosophic methods and keen observation to study every tribe and nation of the globe almost de novo; and from materials thus collected a science may be established.











The variations between “MS. Troano” (wholly italicized) and “MS. Troano” (only title italicized), and between “Stephens’s” and “Stephens’” (with and without possessive “s”) are in the original.

For this e-text, a few mechanical changes were made to the large diagrams (called Plates) on pages 214-220. Parenthetical notations such as (right-hand side) are in the original; bracketed and italicized notations such as [left half] were added by the transcriber.

Plate LII was printed as a single table, with each long line of the original shown as a pair of lines bracketed together. It has been separated into left and right halves, with the “209” column shifted to the right (second) half.

Plates LIII and LIV were printed horizontally; each has been split in two.

Plate LVI, printed in two halves, has been redivided into three segments.


List of illustrations Page 206
Introductory 207
Materials for the present investigation 210
System of nomenclature 211
In what order are the hieroglyphs read? 221
The card catalogue of hieroglyphs 223
Comparison of plates I and IV (Copan) 224

Are the hieroglyphs of Copan and Palenque identical?


Huitzilopochtli, Mexican god of war, etc.

Tlaloc, or his Maya representative 237
Cukulcan or Quetzalcoatl 239

Comparison of the signs of the Maya months



Figure 48. The Palenquean Group of the Cross 221
49. Statue at Copan 224
50. Statue at Copan 225

Synonymous Hieroglyphs from Copan and Palenque

52. Yucatec Stone 229
53. Huitzilopochtli (front) 232
54. Huitzilopochtli (side) 232
55. Huitzilopochtli (back) 232
56. Miclantecutli 232
57. Adoratorio 233
58. The Maya War-God 234
59. The Maya Rain-God 234
60. Tablet at Palenque 234



By Edward S. Holden.


Since 1876 I have been familiar with the works of Mr. John L. Stephens on the antiquities of Yucatan, and from time to time I have read works on kindred subjects with ever increasing interest and curiosity in regard to the meaning of the hieroglyphic inscriptions on the stones and tablets of Copan, Palenque, and other ruins of Central America. In August, 1880, I determined to see how far the principles which are successful when applied to ordinary cipher-writing would carry one in the inscriptions of Yucatan. The difference between an ordinary cipher-message and these inscriptions is not so marked as might at first sight appear. The underlying principles of deciphering are quite the same in the two cases.

The chief difficulty in the Yucatec inscriptions is our lack of any definite knowledge of the nature of the records of the aborigines. The patient researches of our archæologists have recovered but very little of their manners and habits, and one has constantly to avoid the tempting suggestions of an imagination which has been formed by modern influences, and to endeavor to keep free from every suggestion not inherent in the stones themselves. I say the stones, for I have only used the Maya manuscripts incidentally. They do not possess, to me, the same interest, and I think it may certainly be said that all of them are younger than the Palenque tablets, and far younger than the inscriptions at Copan.

I therefore determined to apply the ordinary principles of deciphering, without any bias, to the Yucatec inscriptions, and to go as far as I could certainly. Arrived at the point where demonstration ceased, it would be my duty to stop. For, while even the conjectures of a mind perfectly trained in archæologic research are valuable and may subsequently prove to be quite right, my lack of familiarity with historical works forced me to keep within narrow and safe limits.

My programme at beginning was, first, to see if the inscriptions at Copan and Palenque were written in the same tongue. When I say “to see,” I mean to definitely prove the fact, and so in other cases; second, to see how the tablets were to be read. That is, in horizontal lines, are 208 they to be read from right to left, or the reverse? In vertical columns, are they to be read up or down? Third, to see whether they were phonetic characters, or merely ideographic, or a mixture of the two—rebus-like, in fact.

If the characters turned out to be purely phonetic, I had determined to stop at this point, since I had not the time to learn the Maya language, and again because I utterly and totally distrusted the methods which, up to this time, have been applied by Brasseur de Bourbourg and others who start, and must start, from the misleading and unlucky alphabet handed down by Landa. I believe that legacy to have been a positive misfortune, and I believe any process of the kind attempted by Brasseur de Bourbourg (for example, in his essay on the MS. Troano) to be extremely dangerous and difficult in application, and to require a degree of scientific caution almost unique.

Dr. Harrison Allen, in his paper, “The Life Form in Art,” in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, is the only investigator who has applied this method to Central American remains with success, so it seems to me; and even here errors have occurred.

The process I allude to is something like the following: A set of characters, say the alphabet of Landa, is taken as a starting point. The variants of these are formed. Then the basis of the investigation is ready. From this, the interpretation follows by identifications of each new character with one of the standard set or with one of its variants. Theoretically, there is no objection to this procedure. Practically, also, there is no objection if the work is done strictly in the order named. In fact, however, the list of variants is filled out not before the work is begun, but during its progress, and in such a way as to satisfy the necessities of the interpreter in carrying out some preconceived idea. With a sufficient latitude in the choice of variants any MS. can receive any interpretation. For example, the MS. Troano, which a casual examination leads me to think is a ritual, and an account of the adventures of several Maya gods, is interpreted by Brasseur de Bourbourg as a record of mighty geologic changes. It is next to impossible to avoid errors of this nature at least, and in fact they have not been avoided, so far as I know, except by Dr. Allen in the paper cited.

I, personally, have chosen the stones and not the manuscripts for study largely because variants do not exist in the same liberal degree in the stone inscriptions as they have been supposed to exist in the manuscripts.

At any one ruin the characters for the same idea are alike, and alike to a marvelous degree. At another ruin the type is just a little different, but the fidelity to this type is equally great. Synonyms exist; that is, the same idea may be given by two or more utterly different signs. But a given sign is made in a fixed and definite way. Finally the MSS. are, I think, later than the stones. Hence the root of the matter is the interpretation of the stones, or not so much their full interpretation as the discovery of a method of interpretation, which shall be sure.


Suppose, for example, that we know the meaning of a dozen characters only, and the way a half dozen of these are joined together in a sentence. The method by which these were obtained will serve to add others to the list, and progress depends in such a case only on our knowledge of the people who wrote, and of the subjects upon which they were writing. Such knowledge and erudition belongs to the archæologists by profession. A step that might take me a year to accomplish might be made in an instant by one to whom the Maya and Aztec mythology was familiar, if he were proceeding according to a sound method. At the present time we know nothing of the meaning of any of the Maya hieroglyphs.

It will, therefore, be my object to go as far in the subject as I can proceed with certainty, every step being demonstrated so that not only the archæologist but any intelligent person can follow. As soon as the border-land is reached in which proof disappears and opinion is the only guide, the search must be abandoned except by those whose cultivated and scientific opinions are based on knowledge far more profound and various than I can pretend or hope to have.

If I do not here push my own conclusions to their farthest limit, it must not be assumed that I do not see, at least in some cases, the direction in which they lead. Rather, let this reticence be ascribed to a desire to lay the foundations of a new structure firmly, to prescribe the method of building which my experience has shown to be adequate and necessary, and to leave to those abler than myself the erection of the superstructure. If my methods and conclusions are correct (and I have no doubts on this point, since each one has been reached in various ways and tested by a multiplicity of criteria) there is a great future to these researches. It is not to be forgotten that here we have no Rosetta stone to act at once as key and criterion, and that instead of the accurate descriptions of the Egyptian hieroglyphics which were handed down by the Greek cotemporaries of the sculptors of these inscriptions, we have only the crude and brutal chronicles of an ignorant Spanish soldiery, or the bigoted accounts of an unenlightened priesthood. To Cortez and his companions a memorandum that it took one hundred men all day to throw the idols into the sea was all-sufficient. To the Spanish priests the burning of all manuscripts was praiseworthy, since those differing from Holy Writ were noxious and those agreeing with it superfluous. It is only to the patient labor of the Maya sculptor who daily carved the symbols of his belief and creed upon enduring stone, and to the luxuriant growths of semi-tropical forests which concealed even these from the passing Spanish adventurer, that we owe the preservation of the memorials of past beliefs and vanished histories.

Not the least of the pleasures of such researches as these comes from the recollection that they vindicate the patience and skill of forgotten men, and make their efforts not quite useless. It was no rude savage that carved the Palenque cross; and if we can discover what his efforts 210 meant, his labor and his learning have not been all in vain. It will be one more proof that human effort, even misdirected, is not lost, but that it comes, later or earlier, “to forward the general deed of man.”


My examination of the works of Mr. J. L. Stephens has convinced me that in every respect his is the most trustworthy work on the hieroglyphs of Central America. The intrinsic evidence to this effect is very strong, but when I first became familiar with the works of Waldeck I found so many points of difference that my faith was for a time shaken, and I came to the conclusion that while the existing representations might suffice for the study of the general forms of statues, tablets, and buildings, yet they were not sufficiently accurate in detail to serve as a basis for the deciphering I had in mind. I am happy to bear witness, however, that Stephens’s work is undoubtedly amply adequate to the purpose, and this fact I have laboriously verified by a comparison of it with various representations, as those of Desaix and others, and also with a few photographs. The drawings of Waldeck are very beautiful and artistic, but either the artist himself or his lithographers have taken singular liberties in the published designs. Stephens’s work is not only accurate, but it contains sufficient material for my purpose (over 1,500 separate hieroglyphs), and, therefore, I have based my study exclusively upon his earliest work, “Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan,” 2 vols., 8vo. New York, 1842 (twelfth edition). I have incidentally consulted the works on the subject contained in the Library of Congress, particularly those of Brasseur de Bourbourg, Kingsborough, Waldeck, and others, but, as I have said, the two volumes above named contain all the material I have been able to utilize, and much more which is still under examination.

One fact which makes the examination of the Central American antiquities easier than it otherwise would be, has not, I think, been sufficiently dwelt upon by former writers. This is the remarkable faithfulness of the artists and sculptors of these statues and inscriptions to a standard. Thus, at Copan, wherever the same kind of hieroglyph is to be represented, it will be found that the human face or other object employed is almost identically the same in expression and character, wherever it is found. The same characters at different parts of a tablet do not differ more than the same letters of the alphabet in two fonts of type.

At Palenque the type (font) changes, but the adherence to this is equally or almost equally rigid. It is to be presumed that in this latter 211 case, where work was done both in stone and stucco, the nature of the material affected the portraiture more or less.

The stone statues at Copan, for example, could not all have been done by the same artist, nor at the same time. I have elsewhere shown that two of these statues are absolutely identical. How was this accomplished? Was one stone taken to the foot of the other and cut by it as a pattern? This is unlikely, especially as in the case mentioned the scale of the two statues is quite different. I think it far more likely that each was cut from a drawing, or series of drawings, which must have been preserved by priestly authority. The work at any one place must have required many years, and could not have been done by a single man; nor is it probable that it was all done in one generation. Separate hieroglyphs must have been preserved in the same way. It is this rigid adherence to a type, and the banishment of artistic fancy, which will allow of progress in the deciphering of the inscriptions or the comparison of the statues. Line after line, ornament after ornament, is repeated with utter fidelity. The reason of this is not far to seek. This, however, is not the place to explain it, but rather to take advantage of the fact itself. We may fairly say that were it not so, and with our present data, all advances would be tenfold more difficult.


It is impossible without a special and expensive font of type to refer pictorially to each character, and therefore some system of nomenclature must be adopted. The one I employ I could now slightly improve, but it has been used and results have been obtained by it. It is sufficient for the purpose, and I will, therefore, retain it rather than to run the risk of errors by changing it to a more perfect system. I have numbered the plates in Stephens’s Central America according to the following scheme:

Stone Statue, front view, I have called Plate I Frontispiece.
Wall of Copan, Plate II 96
Plan of Copan, Plate III 133
Death’s Head, Plate IIIa 135
Portrait, Plate IIIb 136
Stone Idol, Plate IV 138
Portrait, Plate IVa 139
Stone Idol, Plate V 140
Tablet of Hieroglyphics, Plate Va 141
No. 1, Sides of Altar, Plate VI 142
No. 2, Sides of Altar, Plate VII 142
Gigantic Head, Plate VIII 143
212 No. 1, Stone Idol, front view, Plate IX 149
No. 2, Stone Idol, back view, Plate X 150
Idol half buried, Plate XI 151
No. 1, Idol, Plate XII 152
No. 2, Idol, Plate XIII 152
No. 1, Idol, Plate XIV 153
No. 2, Idol, Plate XV 153
Idol and Altar, Plate XVI 154
Fallen Idol, Plate XVII 155
No. 1, Idol, front view, Plate XVIII 156
No. 2, Idol, back view, Plate XIX 156
No. 3, Idol, side view, Plate XX 156
Fallen Idol, Plate XXa 157
Circular Altar, Plate XXb 157
No. 1, Stone Idol, front view, Plate XXI 158
No. 2, Stone Idol, back view, Plate XXII 158
No. 3, Stone Idol, side view, Plate XXIII 158
Great Square of Antigua Guatimala, Plate XXIIIa 266
Profile of Nicaragua Canal, Plate XXIIIb 412
Stone Tablet, Plate XXIV Frontispiece.
Idol at Quirigua, Plate XXV 121
Idol at Quirigua, Plate XXVI 122
Santa Cruz del Quiché, Plate XXVII 171
Place of Sacrifice, Plate XXVIII 184
Figures found at Santa Cruz del Quiché, Plate XXIX 185
Plaza of Quezaltenango, Plate XXX 204
Vases found at Gueguetenango, Plate XXXI 231
Ocosingo, Plate XXXII 259
Palace at Palenque, Plate XXXIII 309
Plan of Palace, Plate XXXIV 310
Stucco Figure on Pier, Plate XXXV 311
Front Corridor of Palace, Plate XXXVI 313
No. 1, Court-yard of Palace, Plate XXXVIII 314
No. 2, Colossal Bas-reliefs in Stone, Plate XXXIX 314
East side of Court-yard, Plate XXXVII 314
No. 1, Bas-relief in Stucco, Plate XL 316
No. 2, Bas-relief in Stucco, Plate XLI 316
No. 3, Bas-relief in Stucco, Plate XLII 316
Oval Bas-relief in Stone, Plate XLIII 318
Bas-relief in Stucco, Plate XLIV 319
General Plan of Palenque, Plate XLV 337
Casa No. 1 in Ruins, Plate XLVI 338
Casa No. 1 restored, Plate XLVII 339
No. 1, Bas-relief in Stucco, Plate XLVIII 340
No. 2, Bas-relief in Stucco, Plate XLIX 340
No. 3, Bas-relief in Stucco, Plate L 340
No. 4, Bas-relief in Stucco, Plate LI 340
No. 1, Tablet of Hieroglyphics, Plate LII 342
No. 2, Tablet of Hieroglyphics, Plate LIII 342
Tablet on inner Wall, Plate LIV 343
Casa di Piedras, No. 2, Plate LV 344
Tablet on back Wall of Altar, Casa No. 2, Plate LVI 345
Stone Statue, Plate LVII 349
213 Casa No. 3, Plate LVIII 350
Front Corridor, Plate LIX 351
No. 1, Bas-reliefs in Front of Altar, Plate LX 353
No. 2, Bas-reliefs in Front of Altar, Plate LXI 353
Adoratorio or Altar, Plate LXII 354
Casa No. 4, Plate LXIII 355
House of the Dwarf, Plate LXIV 420
Casa del Gobernador, Plate LXV 428
Sculptured Front of Casa del Gobernador, Plate LXVI 443
Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Plate LXVIII 441
Top of Altar at Copan, Plate LXVIII = Va 454
Mexican Hieroglyphical Writing, Plate LXIX 454

In each plate I have numbered the hieroglyphs, giving each one its own number. Thus the hieroglyphs of the Copan altar (vol. i, p. 141) which I have called plate Va, are numbered from 1 to 36 according to this scheme—

1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36

And the right hand side of the Palenque Cross tablet, as given by Rau in his memoir published by the Smithsonian Institution (1880), has the numbers—

2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
2030 2031 2032 2033 2034 2035
2040 2041 2042 2043 2044 2045
2050 2051 2052 2053 2054 2055
* * * * * *
* * * * * *
3080 3081 3082 3083 3084 3085

These are consecutive with the numbers which I have attached to the left-hand side, as given by Stephens. Whenever I have stated any results here, I have also given the means by which any one can number a copy of Stephens’s work in the way which I have adopted, and thus the means of testing my conclusions is in the hands of every one who desires to do so.

In cases where only a part of a hieroglyphic is referred to, I have placed its number in a parenthesis, as 1826 see (122), by which I mean that the character 1826 is to be compared with a part of the character 122. The advantages of this system are many: for example; a memorandum can easily be taken that two hieroglyphs are alike, thus 2072 = 2020 and 2073 = 2021. Hence the pair 2020–2021, read horizontally, occurs again at the point 2072–2073, etc. Horizontal pairs will be known by their numbers being consecutive, as 2020–2021; vertical pairs will usually be known by their numbers differing by 10. Thus, 2075–2085 are one above the other.


This method of naming the chiffres, then, is a quick and safe one, and we shall see that it lends itself to the uses required of it.

I add here the scheme according to which the principal plates at Palenque have been numbered.

PLATE XXIV (left-hand side).
horizontal bracket  
vertical bracket 37
See 1800
See 1800
See 1806
39 94   96 98 100 102 104 106
40 40 41 42 95 97 99 = 127 101 103 105 107
43 = 1810 43a = 46a 44 45 108
See 91
46 = 1810 46a = 43a 47 48
49 50 51
52 52a = 1820? 53 54 In the middle of the
plate at the top.
horizontal bracket
55 56 = 1840? 57
See 1802
58 109 115
59 60 61 62 = 58? 110
See 2020
63 64 65 66
See 2025
111 117
See 1911
68 69 70 112 118
See 2020
72 = 281 73 74 113 119
75 76 = 67 77 78 114 120
79 80 81 82
83 84 85 86 = 56?
86* 86* 87 88
89 90 91 92

* Accidental error in numbering here.

† Possibly Muluc—a Maya day; the meaning is “reunion.”

PLATE XXIV (right-hand side).
  horizontal bracket
See 74, 86*
122 = 86?† 123 = 87 124 = 88
See 61, 1822
125 126
See 1940
127 = 99
See 1940
See (44), 64
129 130 131 = 147 132
See 50, 58, 62
133 134 135 136 = 47?
137 138
See 39, 91
See 1811
141 142§
See 54
143 144
See 50, 58,
62, 132
145 146 147 = 131
See 71
149 150
See 56, 1882
151 152
153 154
See 53
See 50, 58, 132
157* 158
See 68
See 38
See 46a, 49a, 52a
horizontal bracket
161 = 50
See 58, 62, 132
See 56, 73, 1882
163 = 1936
See 57
See 58, 62
165 166
See 81?
167 168
See 68?
170 171 172
173 174
See 67, 76, 90, 1910
See 57
See 126
177 178
See 43a
179 180
See 50, 58, 62
181 182
See 57, 163, 1936
183 184

* Possibly Ymix—a Maya day.

† Possibly Chuen—a Maya day; meaning “a board,” “a tree.”

‡ Possibly Ahau—a Maya day; meaning “king.”

§ Possibly Ezanab—a Maya day.

PLATE LII. [left half]
200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208
See 2030
221 222
See 2060
223 224 = 2060 225 226 227 228
240 241 242 = 2020 243 = 1951 244 245 246 247 248
260 261 262 263 264
See 2020
See 2021
See 2022
267 268
See 1820
281 = 72 282 283 284 285 286
See 385
287 288
See 203
301 302 303 = 360 304 305 306 307
320 321 322 323
See 203
324 = 1824
See 204
See 285
See 305
327 328
340 341 342
See 209
343 344
See 322
345 346 347 348
360 = 303 361 362 363 364 365 366
See 351
See 303, 360
380 381 382 383 384 385
See 286, 1822
386 387 388
400 401 402
See 326
403 = 360 404 405 406 407
See 360
420 421 422 423 424 425 426
See 324
[right half of Plate LII]
The 213 column is vacant.
209 210 211 212   214 215 216 217 218 219
See 2020
See 1811-2
See 1822
231 232 234 235 236 237 238 239
249 250 251 252
See 214
254 255 256 257 258 259 = 1943
269 270 271 274 = 244 275 276 277 278
See 204
290 294 295 296 297 298 299
310 311 314 315 316 317 318 319
329 330 331 332
See 209
334 335 336 337 338 339
349 350 351 352 354
See 267, 298
355 356 = 1822
See 230
357 358 359
369 370 371 375 376 377 378 379
389 390 391 392 394 395 396 397 398 399
409 410
See 326
411 412 414 415 416
See 324
417 418 419
430 432 434 435 436 437 438 439

[The upper left-hand square is No. 500, the upper right is 519, the lower left-hand is 720, the lower right is 739. All the squares from 500 to 508, 520 to 528, 530 to 538, etc., up to 720 to 728, are obliterated (and their numbers omitted here) except a few.]

[left half]
        509 510 511 512
See 1967
See 3012
530 531 532
549 550 551 552
570 571 572
589 590 591 592
604 605 609 610 611
See 571
628 629 630 631 632
649 650 651 652
669 670 671 = 324
See 2042
672 = 322?
688 689 690 691 692
708 709 710 711 712
729 730 = 1845 731 732
[right half of Plate LIII]
513 514 515
See 509
See 510
517 518 519  
533 534 535 536 537 538 539
553 554 555 556
See 162
557 558 559
See 1823
574 575 576 577 578 579
593 594 595 596 597 598 599
613 614 615 616 617 618 619
633 634 635 636
See 3054
637 638 639
653 654 655
See 150, 1882
656 657 658 659
673 = 323? 674
See 77
675 676 677
See 1802
678 679
693 694 695 696 697 698 699
713 = 1802 714 715 716 717
See 439
718 719
733 734 735 736 737
See 2020
738 739
PLATE LIV. [left half]
800 801 802 803 804 805 806
900 901 902 903 904 905 906
1000 1001 1002 1003 = 907 1004 1005 1006
  horizontal bracket
1100 1101 1102 = 717 1103 1104
See 1820
1105 = 2020 1106
See 2021
1200 1201 1202 = 1110
See 3054
1203 1204 = 1008 1205 1206
1300 1301 1302 1303 = 1910 1304 1305 1306
1400 = 1823 1401 1402 1403 1404 1405 1406
1500 1501 1502 = 1010 1503 1504 = 717
1505 1506
1600 1601 1602 1603 1604 1605 1606
1700 1701 1702 = 1911 1703 1704 1705 1706
[right half of Plate LIV]
  horizontal bracket
807 808
See 1882
809 810 811
See 26
See 1940
See 1941, 3011
907 = 1003 908
See 2020
909 910
See 1310
911 912 913
1007 1008 1009
See 2021
See 3054
1012 1013
See 1840
See 1841?
1109 1110 = 1209 1113 1114 1115
See 1823
1208 1209 = 1110 1210 1211 1212 1213
1307 1308 1309 1310
See 910
1311 1312 1313
1407 1408 1409 1410 1411 1412 1413
1507 1508 1509 1510 1511 1512 1513
  horizontal bracket  
1607 1608 1609 = 1304 1610 = 1305 1611 = 1010 1612 1613
1707 1708 1709 1710 1711 = 1702
1712 = 1708 1713

see caption

Fig. 48.—The Palenquean Group of the Cross.
Larger View

PLATE LVI (left-hand side—Palenque Cross).
1800 vertical bracket 1801 1802
See 163, 175
1803 1804  
See 155
1806 1807
See 138
horizontal bracket  
See 150
See 139, 179
See (1852)
See 131, 146
See 126, 127, 176
See 161
1821 1822
See 124
1823 1824 1825
1830 = 1820
See 161
1831 1832
See 123, 124
See 121
See 163
See 182
1840 1841 1842
See 1835
See 124, 1836
1844 1845 = 1822
See 124
1850 1851 1852 1853
See 122
1854 = 1806 1855
1860 1861 1862
See 126, 127
1863 1864 1865 = 2021
See 144
1870 = 1820
See 160, 161
1871 1872 = 1842?
See 182
1873 = 1803 1874 1875
1880 1881 1882
See 150, 162
See 124
1884 = 1834
See 163, 182
See 132, 144
See 130, 158
See 131?, 147?
See 132?
1893 1894 = 1822
See 124
See 144
See 146
1901 1902 1903
See 157, 182
1904 1905 = 1803
See 174
See 174
See 141
1913 = 1834
1914 1915
  horizontal bracket  
1920 1921 1922
See 123
See 124
1924 1925
1930 1931 1932 = 1811-2? 1933 1934 1935 = 1884
See 182
  horizontal bracket
1940 = 1862
See 126, 127
1941 1942 1943 1944 = 1922
See 123
1945 = 1923
See 124
See 164
1951 1952 1953 1954 1955

* At and after this place, in vertical columns, 1810-1-2, 1820-1-2, 1830-1-2, 1840-1-2, and 1860-1-2 may be taken as 2 or 3 symbols. I have assumed them to be 3.

[center of Plate LVI]
  1961 1962 1963 1964 1965   1980 1981 1982
  1966   1983
See 131, 147
1816   1967  
See 122, 160
See 123
See 179
See 136?, 184?
  vertical bracket 1976* 1978*  
  1977* 1979*
See 1802
  1975   1974  

* These four each side of the main stem of the cross. 1976 = Ezanab—a Maya day

PLATE LVI (right-hand side—Palenque Cross).
See 131, 147, 150
See 144
2022 2023 2024
See 163
2025 = 123
See 132
See 134, 146, 149
See 1811, 1812
2033 2034
See 124
  horizontal bracket
2040 2041 2042 2043 = 123 2044
See 131, 147
See 132, 150
2000 2050 2051 2052 2053 2054 2055
See 182
2060 2061 2062 2063 2064 2065
2002 = 122 2070 2071 2072 2073 2074 2075
2003 = 2021
See 130
2080 2081 2082 2083 2084 2085
2004 2090 2091 2092 2093 2094 2095
2005 3000 3001 3002 3003 3004 3005
See 1902, 1903
3010 3011 3012 3013 3014 3015
See 182?
3020 3021 3022 3023 3024 3025
2008 3030 3031 3032 3033 3034 3035
2009 3040 3041 3042 3043 3044 3045
See 184
3050 3051 3052 3053 3054 3055
See 131, 2020
3060 3061 3062 3063 3064 3065
2012 3070 3071 3072 3073 3074 3075
2013 3080 3081 3082 3083 3084 3085


Before any advance can be made in the deciphering of the hieroglyphic inscriptions, it is necessary to know in what directions, along what lines or columns, the verbal sense proceeds.

All the inscriptions that I know of are in rectangular figures. At Copan they are usually in squares. At Palenque the longest inscriptions are in rectangles. At Palenque again, there are some cases where there is a single horizontal line of hieroglyphs over a pictorial tablet. Here clearly the only question is, do the characters proceed from left to right, or from right to left? In other cases as in the tablet of the cross, there are vertical columns. The question here is, shall we read up or down?

Now, the hieroglyphs must be phonetic or pictorial, or a mixture of the two. If they are phonetic, it will take more than one symbol to make a word, and we shall have groups of like characters when the same word is written in two places. If the signs are pictorial, the same thing will follow; that is, we shall have groups recurring when the same idea recurs. Further, we know that the subjects treated of in these tablets must be comparatively simple, and that names, as of gods, kings, etc., must necessarily recur.

The names, then, will be the first words deciphered. At present no single name is known. These considerations, together with our system of nomenclature, will enable us to take some steps.

Take, for example, the right-hand side of the Palenque cross tablet as given by Rau. See our figure 48, which is Plate LVI of Stephens (vol. ii, p. 345), with the addition of the part now in the National Museum at Washington.

Our system of numbering is here

2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
2030 2031 2032 2033 2034 2035
* * * * * *
* * * * * *
* * * * * *
3080 3081 3082 3083 3084 3085

Now pick out the duplicate hieroglyphs in this; that is, run through the tablet, and wherever 2020 occurs erase the number which fills the place and write in 2020. Do the same for 2021, 2022, etc., down to 3084. The result will be as follows:

  2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025  
horizontal bracket   horizontal bracket
2030 2031 2032 2033 2034 2035
  horizontal bracket
2040 2041 2042 vertical bracket 2025 2020 2021
  horizontal bracket
2050 2051 2034 2053 2054 2055
  horizontal bracket  
  2053 2061 2062 2063 2064 2065
2070 2071 2020 2021 2022? 2024? vertical bracket ?
  horizontal bracket  
2053 2020 2082 2083 2025 2053
2021 2091 2092 vertical bracket 2025 2094 2095  
3000 2023 2034 2053 2033 3005
horizontal bracket  
  horizontal bracket  
  3010 2083 3012 2024 3014 2091  
2053 3021 2023 2020 3024 2024
? vertical bracket 2024 2025 2021 3033 vertical bracket 2025 2034*  
horizontal bracket   horizontal bracket
2053* 3021 3042 3043 2035 3045  
horizontal bracket  
See 2082
2083 vertical bracket 2025 2034 3054 3055
horizontal bracket
2024 2020 2035 3063 2024 2025
  horizontal bracket
2021 2031 2020 2021 2035 3045
  horizontal bracket  
3080 3081 2091 2093 2020 2021
  horizontal bracket

14 cases of horizontal pairs; 4 cases of vertical pairs; 102 characters in all, of which 51 appear more than once, so that there are but 51 independent hieroglyphs.

Here the first two lines are unchanged. In the third line we find that 2043 is the same as 2025, 2044 = 2020, 2045 = 2021, and so on, and we write the smallest number in each case.

After this is done, connect like pairs by braces whenever they are consecutive, either vertical or horizontal. Take the pair 2020 and 2021 for example; 2020 occurs eight times in the tablet, viz, as 2020, 2044, 2072, 2081, 3023, 3061, 3072, 3084. In five out of the eight cases, it is followed by 2021, viz, as 2021, 2045, 2073, 3073, 3085.

It is clear this is not the result of accident. The pair 2020 and 2021 means something, and when the two characters occur together they must be read together. There is no point of punctuation between them. We 223 also learn that they are not inseparable. 2020 will make sense with 2082, 3024 and 3062. Here it looks as if the writing must be read in lines horizontally. We do not know yet in which direction.

We must examine other cases. This is to be noticed: If the reading is in horizontal lines from left to right, then the progress is from top to bottom in columns, as the case of 3035 and 3040 shows. This occurs at the end of a line, and the corresponding chiffre required to make the pair is at the other end of the next line. I have marked this case with asterisks. If we must read in the lines from right to left we must necessarily read in columns from bottom to top. Thus the lines are connected.

A similar process with all the other tablets in Stephens leads to the conclusion that the reading is in lines horizontally and in columns vertically. The cases 1835-’45, 1885-’95, 1914-’24, and 1936-’46 should, however, be examined. We have now to decide at which end of the lines to begin. The reasons given by Mr. Bancroft (Native Races, vol. ii, p. 782) appeared to me sufficient to decide the question before I was acquainted with his statement of them.

Therefore, the sum total of our present data, examined by a rational method, leads to the conclusion, so far as we can know from these data, that the verbal sense proceeded in lines from left to right, in columns from top to bottom; just as the present page is written, in fact.

For the present, the introduction of the method here indicated is the important step. It has, as yet, been applied only to the plates of Stephens’ work. The definite conclusion should be made to rest on all possible data, some of which is not at my disposition at present. Tablets exist in great numbers at other points besides Palenque, and for the final conclusion these must also be consulted. If each one is examined in the way I have indicated, it will yield a certain answer. The direction of reading for that plate can be thus determined. At Palenque the progress is in the order I have indicated.


It has already been explained how a system of nomenclature was gradually formed. As I have said, this is not perfect, but it is sufficiently simple and full for the purpose. By it, every plate in Stephens’ work receives a number and every hieroglyph in each plate is likewise numbered.

This was first done in my private copy of the work. I then procured another copy and duplicated these numbers both for plates and single chiffres. The plates of this copy were then cut up into single hieroglyphs 224 and each single hieroglyph was mounted on a library card, as follows:

No. 2020. Hieroglyph.
Plate LVI.
Same as Numbers.


Similar to Numbers.


The cards were 6.5 by 4.5 inches. The chiffre was pasted on, in the center of the top space. Its number and the plate from which it came were placed as in the cut. The numbers of hieroglyphs which resembled the one in question could be written on the right half of the card, and the numbers corresponding to different recurrences of this hieroglyph occupied the left half.

All this part of the work was most faithfully and intelligently performed for me by Miss Mary Lockwood, to whom I desire to express the full amount of my obligations. A mistake in any part would have been fatal. But no mistakes occurred.

These cards could now be arranged in any way I saw fit. The simple chiffres, for example, could be placed so as to bring like ones together. A compound hieroglyph could be placed among simple ones agreeing with any one of its components, and so on.

The expense of forming this card catalogue of about 1,500 single hieroglyphs was borne by the Ethnological Bureau of the Smithsonian Institution, and the catalogue is the property of that bureau, forming only one of its many rich collections of American picture-writings.


In examining the various statues at Copan, as given by Stephens, one naturally looks for points of striking resemblance or striking difference. Where all is unknown, even the smallest sign is examined, in the hope that it may prove a clue. The Plate I, Fig. 49, has a twisted knot (the “square knot” of sailors) of cords over its head, and above this is a chiffre composed of ellipses, and above this again a sign like a sea-shell. A natural suggestion was that these might be the signs for the name of the personage depicted in Plate I. If this is so and we should find the same sign elsewhere in connection with a figure, we should expect to find this second figure like the first in every particular. This would be 225 a rigid test of the theory. After looking through the Palenque series, and finding no similar figure and sign, I examined the Copan series, and in Plate IV, our Fig. 50, I found the same signs exactly; i.e., the knot and the two chiffres.

see caption

Fig. 49.—Statue at Copan.

At first sight there is only the most general resemblance between the personages represented in the two plates; as Stephens says in his original account of them, they are “in many respects similar.” If he had known them to be the same, he would not have wasted his time in drawing them. The scale of the two drawings and of the two statues is different; but the two personages are the same identically. Figure for figure, ornament for ornament, they correspond. It is unnecessary to give the minute comparison here in words. It can be made by any one from the two plates herewith. Take any part of Plate I, find the corresponding part of Plate IV, and whether it is human feature or sculptured ornament the two will be found to be the same.

see caption

Fig. 50.—Statue at Copan.

Take the middle face depending from the belt in each plate. The earrings are the same; the ornament below the chin, the knot above the head, the complicated beadwork on each side of this face, all are the same. The bracelets of the right arms of the main figures have each the forked serpent tongue, and the left-arm bracelets are ornamented alike. The crosses with beads almost inclosed in the right hands are alike; the elliptic ornaments above each wrist, the knots and chiffres over the serpent masks which surmount the faces, all are the same. In the steel plates given by Stephens there are even more coincidences to be seen than in the excellent wood-cuts here given, which have been copied from them.

Here, then, is an important fact. The theory that the chiffre over the forehead is characteristic, though it is not definitively proved, receives strong confirmation. The parts which have been lost by the effects of time on one statue can be supplied from the other. Better than all, we gain a test of the minuteness with which the sculptors worked, and an idea of how close the adherence to a type was required to be. Granting once that the two personages are the same (a fact about which I conceive there can be no possible doubt, since the chances in favor are literally thousands to one), we learn what license was allowed, and what synonyms in stone might be employed. Thus, the ornament suspended from the neck in Plate IV is clearly a tiger’s skull. That from the neck of Plate I has been shown to be the derived form of a skull by Dr. Harrison Allen,1 and we now know that this common form relates not to the human skull, as Dr. Allen has supposed, but to that of the tiger. We shall find this figure often repeated, and the identification is of importance. This is a case in regard to synonyms. The kind of symbolism so ably treated by Dr. Allen is well exemplified in the conventional sign for the crotalus jaw at the mouth of the mask over the head of each figure. This is again found on the body of the snake in 226 Plate LX, and in other places. Other important questions can be settled by comparison of the two plates. For example, at Palenque we often find a sign composed of a half ellipse, inside of which bars are drawn. small drawing I shall elsewhere show that there is reason to believe the ellipse is to represent the concave of the sky, its diameter to be the level earth, and in some cases at least the bars to be the descending and fertilizing rain. The bars are sometimes two, three, and sometimes four in number. Are these variants of a single sign, or are they synonyms? Before the discovery of the identity of the personages in these two plates, this question could not be answered. Now we can say that they are not synonyms, or at least that they must be considered separately. To show this, examine the bands just above the wristlets of the two figures. Over the left hands of the figures the bars are two in number; over the right hands there are four. This exact similarity is not accidental; there is a meaning in it, and we must search for its explanation elsewhere, but we now have a valuable test of what needs to be regarded, and of what, on the other hand, may be passed over as accidental or unimportant.

One other case needs mentioning here, as it will be of future use. From the waist of each figure depend nine oval solids, six being hatched over like pine cones and the three central ones having two ovals, one within the other, engraved on them. In Plate IV the inner ovals are all on the right-hand side of the outer ovals. Would they mean the same if they were on the left-hand side? Plate I enables us to say that they would, since one of these inner ovals has been put by the artist on that side by accident or by an allowed caprice. It is by furnishing us with tests and criteria like these that the proof of the identity of these two plates is immediately important. In other ways, too, the proof is valuable and interesting, but we need not discuss them at this time.

These statues, then, are to us a dictionary of synonyms in stone—a test of the degree of adherence to a prototype which was exacted, and a criterion of the kind of minor differences which must be noticed in any rigid study.

I have not insisted more on the resemblances, since the accompanying figures present a demonstration. Let those who wish to verify these resemblances compare minutely the ornaments above the knees of the two figures, those about the waists, above the heads, and the square knots, etc., etc.



One of the first questions to be settled is whether the same system of writing was employed at Palenque and at Copan. Before any study of the meanings of the separate chiffres can be made, we must have our material properly assorted, and must not include in the figures we are examining for the detection of a clue, any which may belong to a system possibly very different.

The opinion of Stephens and of later writers is confirmed by my comparison of the Palenque and the Copan series; that is, it becomes evident that the latter series is far the older.

In Nicaragua and Copan the statues of gods were placed at the foot of the pyramid; farther north, as at Palenque, they were placed in temples at the summit. Such differences show a marked change in customs, and must have required much time for their accomplishment. In this time did the picture-writing change, or, indeed, was it ever identical?

To settle the question whether they were written on the same system, I give here the results of a rapid survey of the card-catalogue of hieroglyphs. A more minute examination is not necessary, as the present one is quite sufficient to show that the system employed at the two places was the same in its general character and almost identical even in details. The practical result of this conclusion is that similar characters of the Copan and Palenque series may be used interchangeably.

No. 7 = = No. 1969
Fig. 51.Synonymous hieroglyphs
from Copan and Palenque.

A detailed study of the undoubted synonyms of the two places will afford much light on the manner in which these characters were gradually evolved. This is not the place for such a study, but it is interesting to remark how, even in unmistakable synonyms, the Palenque character is always the most conventional, the least pictorial; that is, the latest. Examples of this are No. 7, Plate Va, and No. 1969, Plate LVI. The mask in profile which forms the left-hand edge of No. 7 seems to have been conventionalized into the two hooks and the ball, which have the same place in No. 1969.

The larger of these two was cut on stone, the smaller in stucco.

The mask has been changed into the ball and hooks; the angular nose ornament into a single ball, easier to make and quite as significant to the Maya priest. But to us the older (Copan) figure is infinitely more significant. The curious rows of little balls which are often placed at 228 the left-hand edge of the various chiffres are also conventions for older forms. It is to be noted that these balls always occur on the left hand of the hieroglyphs, except in one case, the chiffre 1975 in the Palenque cross tablet, on which the left-hand acolyte stands.

The conclusion that the two series are both written on the same system, and that like chiffres occurring at the two places are synonyms, will, I think, be sufficiently evident to any one who will himself examine the following cases. It is the nature of the agreements which proves the thesis, and not the number of cases here cited. The reader will remember that the Copan series comprises Plates I to XXIII, inclusive; the Palenque series, Plate XXIV and higher numbers.

The sign of the group of Mexican gods who relate to hell, i.e., a circle with a central dot, and with four small segments cut out at four equally distant points of its circumference, is found in No. 4291, Plate XXII, and in many of the Palenque plates, as Plate LVI, Nos. 2090, 2073, 2045, 2021, etc. In both places this sign is worn by human figures just below the ear.

The same sign occurs as an important part of No. 4271, Plate XXII, and No. 4118, Plate XIII (Copan), and No. 2064, Plate LVI (Palenque), etc.

No. 7, Plate Va, and No. 1969, Plate LVI, I regard as absolutely identical. These are both human figures. No. 12, Plate Va, and No. 637, Plate LIII, are probably the same. These probably represent or relate to the long-nosed divinity, Yacateuctli, the Mexican god of commerce, etc., or rather to his Maya representative.

The sign of Tlaloc, or rather the family of Tlalocs, the gods of rain, floods, and waters, is an eye (or sometimes a mouth), around which there is a double line drawn. I take No. 26, Plate Va, of the Copan series, and Nos. 154 and 165, Plate XXIV, to be corresponding references to members of this family. No. 4, Plate Va, and No. 155 also correspond.

No. 4242, Plate XXII, is probably related to No. 53, Plate XXIV and its congeners.

Nos. 14 and 34, Plate Va, are clearly related to No. 900, Plate LIV, Nos. 127 and 176, Plate XXIV, No. 3010, Plate LVI, and many others.

Plate IIIa of Copan is evidently identically the same as the No. 75 of the Palenque Plate No. XXIV.

The right half of No. 27, Plate Va, is the same as the right half of Nos. 3020, 3040, and many others of Plate LVI.

No. 17, Plate Va, is related to No. 2051, Plate LVI, and many others like it.

The major part of No. 4105, Plate XIII, is the same as No. 124, Plate XXIV, etc.

It is not necessary to add a greater number of examples here. The card-catalogue which I have mentioned enables me to at once pick out all the cases of which the above are specimens, taken just as they fell under my eye in rapidly turning over the cards. They therefore represent the 229 average agreement, neither more nor less. Taken together they show that the same signs were used at Copan and at Palenque. As the same symbols used at both places occur in like positions in regard to the human face, etc., I conclude that not only were the same signs used at both places, but that these signs had the same meaning; i.e., were truly synonyms. In future I shall regard this as demonstrated.



In the Congrès des Américanistes, session de Luxembourg, vol. ii, p. 283, is a report of a memoir of Dr. Leemans, entitled “Description de quelques antiquités américaines conservées dans le Musée royal néerlandais d’antiquités à Leide.” On page 299 we find—

M. G.-H.-Band, de Arnheim, a eu la bonté de me confier quelques antiquités provenant des anciens habitants du Yucatan et de l’Amérique Centrale, avec autorisation d’en faire prendre des fac-similes pour le Musée, ce qui me permet de les faire connaître aux membres du Congrès. Elles ont été trouvées enfouies à une grande profondeur dans le sol, lors de la construction d’un canal, vers la rivière Gracioza, près de San Filippo, sur la frontière du Honduras britannique et de la république de Guatémala par M. S.-A.-van Braam, ingénieur néerlandais au service de la Guatémala-Company.

From the maps given in Stieler’s Hand-Atlas and in Bancroft’s Native Races of the Pacific States I find that these relics were found 308 miles from Uxmal, 207 miles from Palenque, 92 miles from Copan, and 655 miles from the city of Mexico, the distances being in a straight line from place to place.

The one of these objects with which we are now concerned is figured in Plate (63) of the work quoted, and is reproduced here as Fig. 52.

see caption

Fig. 52.—Yucatec Stone.

Dr. Leemans refers to a similarity between this figure and others in Stephens’ Travels in Central America, but gives no general comparison.

I wish to direct attention to some of the points of this cut. The chiffre or symbol of the principal figure is, perhaps, represented in his belt, and is a St. Andrew’s cross, with a circle at each end of it. Inside the large circle is a smaller one. It may be said, in passing, that the cross probably relates to the air and the circle to the sun.

The main figure has two hands folded against his breast. Two other arms are extended, one in front, the other behind, which carry two birds. Each arm has a bracelet. This second pair of hands is not described by Dr. Leemans. The two birds are exact duplicates, except that the eye of one is shut, of the other open. Just above the bill of each bird is something which might be taken as a second bill (which probably is not, 230 however), and on this and on the back of each bird are five spines or claws. The corresponding claws are curved and shaped alike in the two sets. The birds are fastened to the neck of the person represented by two ornaments, which are alike, and which seem to be the usual hieroglyph of the crotalus jaw. These jaws are placed similarly with respect to each bird. In Kingsborough’s Mexican Antiquities, vol. I, Plate X, we find the parrot as the sign of Tonatihu, the sun, and in Plate XXV with Naolin, the sun. On a level with the nose of the principal figure are two symbols, one in front and one behind, each inclosing a St. Andrew’s cross, and surmounted by what seems to be a flaming fire. It is probably the chiffre of the wind, as the cross is of the rain. Below the rear one of these is a head with protruding tongue (the sign of Quetzalcoatl); below the other a hieroglyph (perhaps a bearded face). Each of these is upborne by a hand. It is to be noticed, also, that these last arms have bracelets different from the pair on the breast.

In passing, it may be noted that the head in rear is under a cross, and has on its cheek the symbol U. These are the symbols of the left-hand figure in the Palenque cross tablet.

The head hanging from the rear of the belt has an open eye (like that of the principal figure), and above it is a crotalus mask, with open eye, and teeth, and forked fangs. The principal figure wears over his head a mask, with open mouth, and with tusks, and above this mask is the eagle’s head. This eagle is a sign of Tlaloc, at least in Yucatan. In Mexico the eagle was part of the insignia of Tetzcatlipoca, “the devil,” who overthrew the good Quetzalcoatl and reintroduced human sacrifice.

The characteristics of the principal figure, 63, are then briefly as follows:

I. His chiffre is an air-cross with the sun-circle.

II. He has four hands.

III. He bears two birds as a symbol.

IV. The claws or spikes on the backs of these are significant.

V. The mask with tusks over the head.

VI. The head worn at the belt.

VII. The captive trodden under foot.

VIII. The chain from the belt attached to a kind of ornament or symbol.

IX. The twisted flames (?) or winds (?) on each side of the figure.

X. His association with Quetzalcoatl or Cukulcan, as shown by the mouth with protruding tongue, and with Tlaloc or Tetzcatlipoca, as shown by the eagle’s head.

We may note here for reference the signification of one of the hieroglyphs in the right-hand half of Fig. 52, i.e., in that half which contains only writing. The topmost chiffre is undoubtedly the name, or part of the name, of the principal figure represented in the other half. It is in pure picture-writing; that is, it expresses the sum of his attributes. 231 It has the crotalus mask, with nose ornament, which he wears over his face; then the cross, with the “five feathers” of Mexico, and the sun symbol. These are in the middle of the chiffre. Below these the oval may be, and probably is, heaven, with the rain descending and producing from the surface of the earth (the long axis of the ellipse), the seed, of which three grains are depicted.

We know by the occurrence of the hieroglyphs on the reverse side of the stone that this is not of Aztec sculpture. These symbols are of the same sort as those at Copan, Palenque, etc., and I shall show later that some of them occur in the Palenque tablets. Hence, we know this engraving to be Yucatec and not Aztec in its origin. If it had been sculptured on one side only, and these hieroglyphs omitted, I am satisfied that the facts which I shall point out in the next paragraphs would have led to the conclusion that this stone was Mexican in its origin. Fortunately the native artist had the time to sculpture the Yucatec hieroglyphs, which are the proof of its true origin. It was not dropped by a traveling Aztec; it was made by a Yucatec.

In passing, it may be said that the upper left-hand hieroglyph of Plate XIII most probably repeats this name.

I collect from the third volume of Bancroft’s Native Races, chapter viii, such descriptions of Huitzilopochtli as he was represented among the Mexicans as will be of use to us in our comparisons. No display of learning in giving the references to the original works is necessary here, since Mr. Bancroft has placed all these in order and culled them for a use like the present. It will suffice once for all to refer the critical reader to this volume, and to express the highest sense of obligation to Mr. Bancroft’s compilation, which renders a survey of the characteristic features of the American divinities easy.

In Mexico, then, this god had, among other symbols, “five balls of feathers arranged in the form of a cross.” This was in reference to the mysterious conception of his mother through the powers of the air. The upper hieroglyph in Fig. 52, and one of the lower ones, contain this sign: “In his right hand he had an azured staff cutte in fashion of a waving snake.” (See Plate LXI of Stephens.) “Joining to the temple of this idol there was a piece of less work, where there was another idol they called Tlaloc. These two idolls were alwayes together, for that they held them as companions and of equal power.”

To his temple “there were foure gates,” in allusion to the form of the cross. The temple was surrounded by rows of skulls (as at Copan) and the temple itself was upon a high pyramid. Solis says the war god sat “on a throne supported by a blue globe.” From this, supposed to represent the heavens, projected four staves with serpents’ heads. (See Plate XXIV, Stephens.) “The image bore on its head a bird of wrought plumes,” “its right hand rested upon a crooked serpent.” “Upon the left arm was a buckler bearing five white plumes arranged in form of a cross.” Sahagun describes his device as a dragon’s head, “frightful in the extreme, and casting fire out of his mouth.”


Herrara describes Huitzilopochtli and Tetzcatlipoca together, and says they were “beset with pieces of gold wrought like birds, beasts, and fishes.” “For collars, they had ten hearts of men,” “and in their necks Death painted.”

Torquemada derives the name of the war god in two ways. According to some it is composed of two words, one signifying “a humming bird” and the other “a sorcerer that spits fire.” Others say that the last word means “the left hand,” so that the whole name would mean “the shining feathered left hand.” “This god it was that led out the Mexicans from their own land and brought them into Anáhuac.” Besides his regular statue, set up in Mexico, “there was another renewed every year, made of different kinds of grains and seeds, moistened with the blood of children.” This was in allusion to the nature-side of the god, as fully explained by Müller (Americanische Urreligionen).

see caption
see caption
Fig. 53.Huitzilopochtli (front). Fig. 54.Huitzilopochtli (side).

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Fig. 56.Miclantecutli.

No description will give a better idea of the general features of this god than the following cuts from Bancroft’s Native Races, which are copied from Leon y Gama, Las Dos Piedras, etc. Figs. 53 and 54 are the war god himself; Fig. 55 is the back of the former statue on a larger scale; Fig. 56 is the god of hell, and was engraved on the bottom of the block.

These three were a trinity well nigh inseparable. It has been doubted whether they were not different attributes of the same personage. In the natural course of things the primitive idea would become differentiated into its parts, and in process of time the most important of the parts would each receive a separate pictorial representation.

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Fig. 55.Huitzilopochtli (back).

By referring back a few pages the reader will find summarized the principal characteristics of the Central American figure represented in Fig. 52. He will also have noticed the remarkable agreement between the attributes of this figure and 233 those contained in the cuts or in the descriptions of the Mexican gods. Thus—

I. The symbol of both was the cross.

II. Fig. 52 and Fig. 55 each have four hands.2

III. Both have birds as symbols.

It is difficult to regard the bird of Fig. 52 as a humming bird, as it more resembles the parrot, which, as is well known, was a symbol of some of the Central American gods. Its occurrence here in connection with the four arms fixes it, however, as the bird symbol of Huitzilopochtli. In the MS. Troano, plate xxxi (lower right-hand figure), we find this same personage with his two parrots, along with Tlaloc, the god of rain.

IV. The claws of the Mexican statue may be symbolized by the spikes on the back of the birds in Fig. 52, but these latter appear to me to relate rather to the fangs and teeth of the various crotalus heads of the statues.

V. The mask, with tusks, of Fig. 52, is the same as that at the top of Fig. 55, where we see that they represent the teeth of a serpent, and not the tusks of an animal. This is shown by the forked tongue beneath. The three groups of four dots each on Huitzilopochtli’s statue are references to his relationship with Tlaloc.

With these main and striking duplications, and with other minor and corroborative resemblances, which the reader can see for himself, there is no doubt but that the two figures, Mexican and Yucatec, relate to the same personage. The Yucatec figure combines several of the attributes of the various members of the Mexican trinity named above, but we should not be surprised at this, for, as has been said, some writers consider that this trinity was one only of attributes and not of persons.

What has been given above is sufficient to show that the personage represented in Fig. 52 is the Yucatec equivalent of Huitzilopochtli, and has relations to his trinity named at the head of this section, and also to the family of Tlaloc. I am not aware that the relationship of the Yucatec and Aztec gods has been so directly shown, on evidence almost purely pictorial, and therefore free from a certain kind of bias.

If the conclusions above stated are true, there will be many corroborations of them, and the most prominent of these I proceed to give, as it involves the explanation of one of the most important tablets of Palenque, parts of which are shown in Plates XXIV, LX, LXI, and LXII, vol. ii, of Stephens.

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Fig. 57.—Adoratorio.

Plate LXII, Fig. 57, represents the “Adoratorio or Alta Casa, No. 3” of Palenque. This is nothing else than the temple of the god Huitzilopochtli and of his equal, Tlaloc. The god of war is shown on a larger scale in Plate LXI, Fig. 58, while Tlaloc is given in Plate LX, Fig. 59, and the tablet inside the temple in Plate XXIV, Fig. 60. The 234 resemblances of Plate XXIV and of the Palenque cross tablet and their meanings will be considered farther on.

Returning to Plate LXII, the symbols of the roof and cornice refer to these two divinities. The faces at the ends of the cornice, with the double lines for eye and mouth, are unmistakable Tlaloc signs. The association of the two gods in one temple, as at Mexico, is a strong corroboration.

Let us now take Plate LXI, Fig. 58, which represents Huitzilopochtli, or rather, the Yucatec equivalent of this Aztec god. I shall refer to him by the Aztec appelation, but I shall in future write it in italics; and in general the Yucatec equivalents of Aztec personages in italics, and the Aztec names in small capitals.

Compare Fig. 52 and the Plate LXI (Fig. 58). As the two plates are before the reader, I need only point out the main resemblances, and, what is more important, the differences.

The sandals, the belt, its front pendant, the bracelets, the neck ornament, the helmet, should be examined. The four hands of Fig. 52 are not in LXI, nor the parrots; but if we refer to Kingsborough, Vol. II, Plates 6 and 7 of the Laud manuscript, we shall find figures of Huitzilopochtli with a parrot, and of Tlaloc with the stork with a fish in its mouth, as in the head-dress here. The prostrate figure of Fig. 52 is here led by a chain. At Labphak (Bancroft, Vol. iv., p. 251), he is held aloft in the air, and he is on what may be a sacrificial yoke. The Tlaloc eagle is in the head of the staff carried in the hand. This eagle is found in the second line from the bottom of Fig. 52, we may remark in passing. Notice also the crescent moon in the ornament back of the shoulders of the personage of Fig. 58. The twisted cords which form the bottom of this ornament are in the hieroglyph No. 37, Plate XXIV (Fig. 60).

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Fig. 58.—Maya War God. Fig. 59.—Maya Rain God.

Turning now to Plate LX (Fig. 59).

This I take to be the sorcerer Tlaloc. He is blowing the wind from his mouth; he has the eagle in his head-dress, the jaw with grinders, the peculiar eye, the four Tlaloc dots over his ear and on it, the snake between his legs, curved in the form of a yoke (this is known to be a serpent by the conventional crotalus signs of jaw and rattles on it in nine places), the four Tlaloc dots again in his head-dress, etc. He has a leopard skin on his back (the tiger was the earth in Mexico) and his naked feet have peculiar anklets which should be noticed.

Although I am deferring the examination of the hieroglyphs to a later section, the chiffre 3201 should be noticed. It is the Tlaloc eye again, and 3203 is the chiffre of the Mexican gods of hell.

In passing I may just refer the reader to p. 164, Vol. ii, of Stephens’ book on Yucatan, where a figure occurring at Labphak is given. This I take to be the same as Huitzilopochtli of Plate LXI. Also in the MS. Troano, published by Brasseur de Bourbourg, a figure in Plate XXV and in other plates sits on a hieroglyph like 3201, and is 235 Tlaloc. This is known by the head-dress, the teeth, the air-trumpet, the serpent symbol, etc. In Plates XXVIII, XXXI, and XXXIII of the same work Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc are represented together, in various adventures.

In Plate LX (Fig. 59) notice also the chiffre on the tassels before and behind the main personage.

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Fig. 60.—Tablet at Palenque.
Larger View

Now turn to the Plate XXIV (Fig. 60), which is the main object in the “Adoratorio” (Fig. 57), where the human figures serve as flankers.

First examine the caryatides who support the central structure. These are Tlalocs. Each has an eagle over his face, is clothed in leopard skin, has the characteristic eye and teeth, and the wristlets of Plate LX (Fig. 59).

A vertical line through the center of Plate XXIV (Fig. 60) would separate the figures and ornaments into two groups. These groups are very similar, but never identical, and this holds good down to the minutest particulars and is not the result of accident. One side (the right-hand) belongs to Tlaloc, the other to Huitzilopochtli.

The right-hand priest (let us call him, simply for a name and not to commit ourselves to a theory) has the sandals of Plate LXI; the left-hand priest the anklets of Plate LX.

The beast on which the first stands and the man who supports the other are both marked with the tassel symbol of Plate LX. There is a certain rude resemblance between the supplementary head of this beast and the pendant in front of the belt of Fig. 52. Four of these beasts supply rain to the earth with Tlaloc in Plate XXVI of the MS. Troano. The infant offered by the right-hand priest has the two curls on his forehead which was a necessary mark of the victims for Tlaloc’s sacrifices. The center of the whole plate is a horrid mask with an open mouth. Behind this are two staves with different ornaments crossed in the form of the air-cross. On either hand of this the ornaments are different though similar.

A curious resemblance may be traced between the positions, etc., of these two staves and those of the figure on p. 563, vol. iv, of Bancroft’s Native Races, which is a Mexican stone. Again, this latter figure has at its upper right-hand corner a crouching animal (?) very similar to the gateway ornament given in the same volume, p. 321. This last is at Palenque. I quote these two examples in passing simply to reinforce the idea of similarity between the sacred sculptures of Yucatan and Mexico.

I take it that the examination of which I have sketched the details will have left no doubt but that the personage of Fig. 52 is truly Huitzilopochtli, the Yucatec representative of Huitzilopochtli; that Plate LXI (Fig. 58) is the same personage; that Plate LX (Fig. 59) represents Tlaloc; and that Plate XXIV (Fig. 60) is a tablet relating to the service of these two gods.

I have previously shown that the Palenque hieroglyphs are read in 236 order from left to right. We should naturally expect, then, that the sign for Tlaloc or for Huitzilopochtli would occupy the upper left-hand corner of Plate XXIV. In fact it does, and I was led to this discovery in the way I have indicated.

No. 37 is the Palenque manner of writing the top sign of Fig. 52. I shall call the signs of Fig. 52 a, b, c, etc., in order downwards.

The crouching face in a occupies the lower central part of No. 37. Notice also that this face occurs below the small cross in the detached ornament to the left of the central mask of Fig. 60. The crescent moon of Plate LXI (Fig. 58) is on its cheek; back of this is the sun-sign; the cross of a is just above its eye; the three signs for the celestial concave are at the top of 37, crossed with rain bands; the three seeds (?) are below these. The feathers are in the lower right-hand two-thirds. This is the sign or part of the sign for Huitzilopochtli. If a Maya Indian had seen either of these signs a few centuries ago, he would have had the successive ideas—a war-god, with a feather-symbol, related to sun and moon, to fertilizing rain and influences, to clouds and seed; that is Huitzilopochtli, the companion of Tlaloc. Or if he had seen the upper left-hand symbol of the Palenque cross tablet (1800), he would have had related ideas, and so on.

What I have previously said about the faithfulness with which the Yucatec artist adhered to his prototypes in signs is perfectly true, although apparently partly contradicted by the identification I have just made. When a given attribute of a god (or other personage) was to be depicted, the chiffres expressing this were marvellously alike. Witness the chiffres Nos. 2090, 2073, 2021, 2045, 3085, 3073, 3070, 3032 of the Palenque cross tablet. But directly afterwards some other attribute is to be brought out, and the chiffre changes; thus the hieroglyph 1009 of Plate LIV, or 265, Plate LII, has the same protruding tongue as 2021, etc., and is the same personage, but the style is quite changed. In Fig. 52, Huitzilopochtli is the war-god, in Plate XXIV he is the rain-god’s companion; and while every attribute is accounted for, prominence is given to the special ones worshipped or celebrated. Scores of instances of this have arisen in the course of my examination.

Again, we must remember that this was no source of ambiguity to the Yucatecs, however much it may be to us. Each one of them, and specially each officiating priest, was entirely familiar with every attribute of every god of the Yucatec pantheon. The sign of the attribute brought the idea of the power of the god in that special direction; the full idea of his divinity was the integral of all these special ideas. The limits were heaven and earth.

This, then, is the first step. I consider that it is securely based, and that we may safely say that in proper names, at least, a kind of picture writing was used which was not phonetic.

From this point we may go on. I must again remark that great familiarity with the literature of the Aztecs and Yucatecs is needed—a familiarity 237 to which I personally cannot pretend—and that it is clear that the method to reach its full success must be applied by a true scholar in this special field.


Although there is no personage of all the Maya pantheon more easy to recognize in the form of a statue than Tlaloc, there is great difficulty in being certain of all the hieroglyphs which relate to him. There is every reason to believe that in Yucatan, as in Mexico, there was a family of rain-gods, Tlalocs, and the distinguishing signs of the several members are almost impossible of separation, so long as we know so little of the special functions of each member of this family.

In Yucatan, as in Mexico, Tlaloc’s main sign was a double line about the eye or mouth, or about both; and further, some of the Tlalocs, at least, were bearded.3

Cukulcan was also bearded, but we have separated out in the next section the chiffres, or certainly most of them, that relate to him. Those that are left remain to be distributed among the family of rain-gods; and this, as I have said, can only be done imperfectly, on account of our slight knowledge of the character of these gods.

If we examine the plates given by Stephens, we shall find many pictorial allusions to Tlaloc. These are often used as mere ornaments or embellishments, as in borders, etc., and probably served only to notify, in a general way, the fact of the relationship of the personage represented, to this family, and probably not to convey any specific meaning.

Thus, in Plate XXXV of Stephens’ work the upper left-hand ornament of the border is a head of Tlaloc with double lines about eye and mouth, and this ornament is repeated in a different form at the lower right-hand corner of the border just back of the right hand of the sitting figure, and also in the base of the border below the feet of the principal figure.

Plate XLVIII (of Stephens’) is probably Chalchihuitlicue (that is, the Yucatec equivalent of that goddess), who was the sister of Tlaloc. His sign occurs in the upper left-hand corner of the border, and in Plate XLIX the same sign occurs in a corresponding position.

Plate XXIV (our Fig. 60) is full of Tlaloc signs. The bottom of the tablet has a hieroglyph, 93 (Huitzilopochtli), at one end and 185 (Tlaloc) at the other. The leopard skin, eagle, and the crouching tiger (?) under the feet of the priest of Tlaloc (the right-hand figure) are all given. The infant (?) offered by this priest has two locks of curled hair at its forehead, as was prescribed for children offered to this god.


In Plate LVI (our Fig. 48) the mask at the foot of the cross is a human mask, and not a serpent mask, as has been ingeniously proved by Dr. Harrison Allen in his paper so often quoted. It is the mask of Tlaloc, as shown by the teeth and corroborated (not proved) by the way in which the eye is expressed. The curved hook within the eyeball here, as in 185, stands for the air—the wind—of which Tlaloc was also god. The Mexicans had a similar sign for breath, message.

The chiffre 1975, on which Huitzilopochtli’s priest is standing, I believe to be the synonym of 185 in Plate XXIV. Just in front of Tlaloc’s priest is a sacrificial yoke (?), at the top of which is a face, with the eye of the Tlalocs, and various decorations. This face is to be found also at the lower left-hand corner of Plate XLI (of Stephens’), and also (?) in the same position in Plate XLII (of Stephens’). These will serve as subjects for further study.

Notice in Plate LVI (our Fig. 48) how the ornaments in corresponding positions on either side of the central line are similar, yet never the same. A careful study of these pairs will show how the two gods celebrated, differed. A large part, at least, of the attributes of each god is recorded in this way by antithesis. I have not made enough progress in this direction to make the very few conclusions of which I am certain worth recording. The general fact of such an antithesis is obvious when once it is pointed out, and it is in just such paths as this that advances must be looked for.

I have just mentioned, in this rapid survey of the plates of vol. ii of Stephens’ work, the principal pictorial signs relating to Tlaloc. There are a number almost equally well marked in vol. i, in Plates VII, IX, X, XIII, and XV, but they need not be described. Those who are especially interested can find them for themselves.

The following brief account and plate of a Tlaloc inscription at Kabah will be useful for future use, and is the more interesting as it is comparatively unknown.


This hitherto unpublished inscription on a rock at Kabah is given in Archives paléographiques, vol. i, part ii, Plate 20. It deserves attention on account of its resemblances, but still more on account of its differences, with certain other Yucatec glyphs.

We may first compare it with the Plate LX of Stephens (our Fig. 59).

The head-dress in Plate 20 is quite simple, and presents no resemblance to the elaborate gear of Plate LX, in which the ornament of a leaf (?), or more probably feather, cross-hatched at the end and divided symmetrically by a stem (?) or quill about which four dots are placed, seems characteristic.

Possibly, and only possibly, the square in the rear of the head of Plate 20, which has two cross-hatchings, may refer to the elaborate cross-hatchings in Plate LX. The four dots are found twice, once in 239 front and once in rear of the figure. The heads of the two figures have only one resemblance, but this is a very important one. The tusks belong to Huitzilopochtli and to his trinity, and specially to Tlaloc, his companion.

Both Plate 20 and LX have the serpent wand or yoke clearly expressed. In LX the serpent is decorated with crotalus heads; in 20 by images of the sun (?), as in the Ferjavary MS. (Kingsborough). The front apron or ornament of Plate 20 is of snake skin, ornamented with sun-symbols. Comparing Plate 20 with Fig. 52 (ante), we find quite other resemblances. The head-dress of 20 is the same as the projecting arm of the head-dress of Fig. 52; and the tusks are found in the helmet or mask of Fig. 52.

These and other resemblances show the Kabah inscription to be a Tlaloc. It is interesting specially on account of its hieroglyphs, which I hope to examine subsequently. The style of this writing appears to be late, and may serve as a connecting link between the stones and the manuscripts, and it is noteworthy that even the style of the drawing itself seems to be in the manner of the Mexican MS. of Laud, rather than in that of the Palenque stone tablets.

From the card catalogue I select the following chiffres as appertaining to the family of the Tlalocs. As I have said, these must for the present remain in a group, unseparated. Future studies will be necessary to discriminate between the special signs which relate to special members of the family. The chiffres are Nos. 3200; 1864; 1403; 811; 1107?; 1943?; 4114??; b?; 1893 (bearded faces, or faces with teeth very prominent); 166?; 4??; 807?; 62?; 155?; 26; 154?; 165?; 164?; 805; 4109; 1915?; 675??; 635?? (distinguished by the characteristic eye of the Tlalocs).

Here, again, the writing is ideographic, and not phonetic.


The character 2021 occurs many times in Plate LVI (Fig. 48), and occasionally elsewhere. The personage represented is distinguished by having a protruding tongue, and was therefore at once suspected to be Quetzalcoatl. (See Bancroft’s Native Races, vol. iii, p. 280.) The protruding tongue is probably a reference to his introduction of the sacrificial acts performed by wounding that member.

The rest of the sign I suppose to be the rebus of his name, “Snake-plumage”; the part cross-hatched being “snake,” the feather-like ornament at the upper left-hand corner being “plumage.” It is necessary, however, to prove this before accepting the theory. To do this I had recourse to Plates I and IV (Figs. 49, 50), my dictionary of synonyms.


This cross-hatching occurs in Plate I. In the six tassels below the waist, where the cross-hatching might indicate the serpent skin, notice the ends of the tassels; these are in a scroll-like form, and as if rolled or coiled tip. In Plate IV they are the same, naturally. So far there is but little light.

In Plate IV, just above each wrist, is a sign composed of ellipse and bars; a little above each of these signs, among coils which may be serpent coils, and on the horizontal line through the top of the necklace pendant, are two surfaces cross-hatched all over. What do these mean? Referring to Plate I, we find, in exactly the same relative situation, the forked tongue and the rattles of the crotalus. These are, then, synonyms, and the guess is confirmed. The cross-hatching means serpent-skin. Is this always so? We must examine other plates to decide.

The same ornament is found in Plates IX, XIV, XVI, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXXV (of Stephens’), but its situation does not allow us to gain any additional light.

In Plate XII (Stephens’) none of the ornaments below the belt will help us. At the level of the mouth are four patches of it. Take the upper right-hand one of these. Immediately to its right is a serpent’s head; below the curve and above the frog’s (?) head are the rattles. Here is another confirmation. In Plate XVIII I refer the cross-hatching to the jaw of the crocodile. In Plate XXII I have numbered the chiffres as follows:

4201 4202 4203 4204.
4211 4212 4213 4214.
* * * *
* * * *
* * * *
4311 4312 4313 4314.

4204 has the cross-hatching at its top, and to its left in 4203 is the serpent’s head. The same is true in 4233-4. In 4264 we have the same symbol that we are trying to interpret; it is in its perfect form here and in No. 1865 of the Palenque series. In the caryatides of Plate XXIV (Fig. 60) the cross-hatching is included in the spots of the leopard’s skin; in the ornaments at the base, in and near the masks which they are supporting, it is again serpent skin. Take the lower mask; its jaws, forked-tongue, and teeth prove it to be a serpent-mask, as well as the ornament just above it. In Plate LX (Fig. 59) it is to be noticed that the leopard spots are not cross-hatched, but that this ornament is given at the lower end of the leopard robe, which ends moreover in a crotalus tongue marked with the sign of the jaw (near the top of this ornament) and of the rattles (near the bottom). This again confirms the theory of the rebus meaning of the cross-hatching. In Plate XXIV (Fig. 60) the cross-hatching on the leopard spots probably is meant to add the serpent attribute to the leopard symbol, and not simply to denote the latter.

Thus an examination of the whole of the material available, shows that the preceding half of the hieroglyph 2021 and its congeners is nothing 241 but the rebus for Quetzalcoatl, or rather for Cukulcan, the Maya name for this god. Brasseur de Bourbourg, as quoted in Bancroft’s Native Races, vol. ii, p. 699, foot note, says Cukulcan, comes from kuk or kukul, a bird, which appears to be the same as the quetzal, and from can, serpent; so that Cukulcan in Maya is the same as Quetzalcoatl in Aztec. It is to be noticed how checks on the accuracy of any deciphering of hieroglyphs occur at every point, if we will only use them.

The Maya equivalents of Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc are undoubtedly buried in the chiffres already deciphered, but we have no means of getting their names in Maya from the rebus of the chiffres.

In the cases of these two gods we got the chiffre, and the rebus is still to seek. In the case of Quetzalcoatl or Cukulcan, the rebus was the means of getting the name; and if the names of this divinity had not been equivalent in the two tongues, our results would have led us to the (almost absurd) conclusion that a god of certain attributes was called by his Aztec name in the Maya nations.

Thus every correct conclusion confirms every former one and is a basis for subsequent progress. The results of this analysis are that the Maya god Cukulcan is named in each one of the following chiffres, viz: Nos. 1009, 265, 2090, 2073, 2021, 3085, 2045, 3073, 3070, 3032, 1865, 265, 268?, 4291? 73?? I give the numbers in the order in which they are arranged in the card-catalogue. There is, of course, a reason for this order.

Bancroft, vol. iii, p. 268, says of Quetzalcoatl that “his symbols were the bird, the serpent, the cross, and the flint, representing the clouds, the lightning, the four winds, and the thunderbolt.”

We shall find all of his titles except one, the bird, in what follows. We must notice here that in the chiffre 2021 and its congeners the bird appears directly over the head of Cukulcan. It is plainly shown in the heliotype which accompanies Professor RAU’S work on the Palenque cross, though not so well in our Fig. 48.

In what has gone before, we have seen that the characters 2021, 2045, 2073, 3073, 3085, 265, etc., present the portrait and the rebus of Cukulcan. It will not be forgotten that in the examination of the question as to the order in which the stone inscriptions were read we found a number of pairs in Plate LVI, Fig. 48; the characters 2021, etc., being one member of each. The other members of the pairs in the Plate LVI were 2020, 2044, 2072, 3072, 3084, etc. 264-265 is another example of the same pair elsewhere.

I hoped to find that the name Cukulcan, or 2021, was associated in these pairs with some adjective or verb, and therefore examined the other members of the pair.

In a case like this the card-catalogue is of great assistance; for example, I wish to examine here the chiffres Nos. 2020, 2044, 2072, 3072, 3084, etc. In the catalogue their cards occur in the same compartment, arranged so that two cards that are exactly alike are contiguous. 242 We can often know that two chiffres are alike when one is in a far better state of preservation than the other. Hence we may select for study that one in which the lines and figures are best preserved; or from several characters known to be alike, and of which no one is entirely perfect, we may construct with accuracy the type upon which they were founded. In this case the hieroglyph 2020 is well preserved (see the right-hand side of Plate LVI, Fig. 48, the upper left-hand glyph). It consists of a human hand, with the symbol of the sun in it; above this is a sign similar to that of the Maya day Ymix; above this again, in miniature, is the rebus “snake plumage” or Cukulcan; and to the left of the hieroglyph are some curved lines not yet understood. No. 2003 of the same plate is also well preserved. It has the hand as in 2020, the rebus also, and the sign for Ymix is slightly different, being modified with a sign like the top of a cross, the symbol of the four winds. The symbol Ymix may be seen, by a reference to Plate XXVII (lower half) of the MS. Troano, to relate to the rain. The figure of that plate is pouring rain upon the earth from the orifices represented by Ymix. The cross of the four winds is still more plain in Nos. 2072, 3084, and 3072.

The part of this symbol 2020 and its synonyms which consists of curved lines occupying the left hand one-third of the whole chiffre occurs only in this set of characters, and thus I cannot say certainly what this particular part of the hieroglyph means; but if the reader will glance back over the last one hundred lines he will find that these chiffres contain the rebus Cukulcan, the sign of a human hand, of the sun, of the rain, and of the four winds.

In Bancroft’s Native Races, vol. iii, chapter vii, we find that the titles of Quetzalcoatl (Cukulcan) were the air, the rattlesnake, the rumbler (in allusion to thunder), the strong hand, the lord of the four winds. The bird symbol exists in 2021, etc. Now in 2020 and its congeners we have found every one of these titles, save only that relating to the thunder. And we have found a meaning for every part of the hieroglyph 2020 save only one, viz, the left-hand one-third, consisting of concentric half ellipses or circles. It may be said to be quite probable that the unexplained part of the sign (2020) corresponds to the unused title, “the rumbler.” But it is not rigorously proved, although very probable. The thunder would be well represented by repeating the sign for sky or heaven. This much seems to me certain. The sign is but another summing up of the attributes and titles of Cukulcan. 2021 gave his portrait, his bird symbol, made allusion to his institution of the sacrifice of wounding the tongue, and spelled out his name in rebus characters. 2020 repeats his name as a rebus and adds the titles of lord of the four winds, of the sun, of rain, of the strong hand, etc. It is his biography, as it were.

In this connection, a passing reference to the characters 1810, etc., 1820, etc., 1830, etc., 1840, etc., 1850, etc., of the left-hand side of Plate LVI should be made. Among these, all the titles named above are to be found. These are suitable subjects for future study.


We now see why the pair 2020, 2021 occurs so many times in Plate LVI, and again as 264, 265, etc. The right-hand half of this tablet has much to say of Cukulcan, and whenever his name is mentioned a brief list of his titles accompanies it. Although it is disappointing to find both members of this well-marked pair to be proper names, yet it is gratifying to see that the theory of pairs, on which the proof of the order in which the tablets are to be read must rest, has received such unexpected confirmation.

To conclude the search for the hieroglyphs of Cukulcan’s name, it will be necessary to collect all those faces with “round beards” (see Bancroft’s Native Races, vol. iii, p. 250). Tlaloc was also bearded, but all the historians refer to Quetzalcoatl as above cited. I refer hieroglyphs Nos. 658, 651?, 650?, and 249? to this category.

Perhaps also the sign No. 153 is the sign of Quetzalcoatl, as something very similar to it is given as his sign in the Codex Telleriano Remensis, Kingsborough, vol. i, Plates I, II, and V (Plate I the best), where he wears it at his waist.

In Plate LXIII of Stephens (vol. ii) is a small figure of Cukulcan which he calls “Bas Relief on Tablet.” Waldeck gives a much larger drawing (incorrect, however, in many details), in which the figure, the “Beau Relief,” is seen to wear bracelets high up on the arm. This was a distinguishing sign of Quetzalcoatl (see Bancroft’s Native Races, vol. iii, pp. 249 and 250), and this figure probably is a representation of the Maya divinity. He is on a stool with tigers for supports. The tiger belongs to the attributes which he had in common with Tlaloc, and we see again the intimate connection of these divinities—a connection often pointed out by Brasseur de Bourbourg.

This is the third proper name which has been deciphered. All of them have been pure picture-writing, except in so far as their rebus character may make them in a sense phonetic.


We have a set of signs for Maya months and days handed down to us by Landa along with his phonetic alphabet. A priori these are more likely to represent the primitive forms as carved in stone than are the alphabetic hieroglyphs, which may well have been invented by the Spaniards to assist the natives to memorize religious formulæ.4


Brasseur de Bourbourg has analyzed the signs for the day and month in his publication on the MS. Troano, and the strongest arguments which can be given for their phonetic origin are given by him.

I have made a set of MS. copies of these signs and included them in my card-catalogue, and have carefully compared them with the tablets XXIV and LVI. My results are as follows:

Plate XXIV (our Fig. 60).

No. 42 is the Maya month Pop, beginning July 16.

No. 54 is Zip??, beginning August 25.

No. 47 is Tzoz??, beginning September 14.

No. 57 is Tzec? beginning October 4.

No. 44-45 is Mol?, beginning December 3.

No. 39 is Yax, Zac, or Ceh, beginning January 12, February 1, February 21, respectively.

Plate LVI (our Fig. 48).

No. 1804 is Uo????

No. 1901 is Zip????

No. 1816 is Tzoz??

No. 1814 is Tzec?

No. 1807 is Mol?

No. 1855 is Yax, Zac, or Ceh.

No. 1844 is Mac?

The only sign about which there is little or no doubt is No. 42, which seems pretty certainly to be the sign of the Maya month Pop, which began July 16.

No. 39, just above it, seems also to be one of the months Yax, Zac, or Ceh, which began on January 12, February 1, and February 21, respectively. Which one of these it corresponds to must be settled by other means than a direct comparison. The signs given by Landa for these three months all contain the same radical as No. 39, but it is impossible to decide with entire certainty to which it corresponds. It, however, most nearly resembles the sign for Zac (February 1); and it is noteworthy that it was precisely in this month that the greatest feast of Tlaloc took place,5 and its presence in this tablet, which relates to Tlaloc, is especially interesting.

In connection with the counting of time, a reference to the bottom part of the chiffre 3000 of the Palenque cross tablet should be made. This is a knot tied up in a string or scarf; and we know this to have been the method of expressing the expiration and completion of a cycle of years. It occurs just above the symbol 3010, the chiffre for a metal.

An examination of the original stone in the National Museum, Washington, which is now in progress, has already convinced me that the methods which I have described in the preceding pages promise other interesting confirmations of the results I have reached. For the time, 245 I must leave the matter in its present state. I think I am justified in my confidence that suitable methods of procedure have been laid down, and that certain important results have already been reached.

I do not believe that the conclusions stated will be changed, but I am confident that a rich reward will be found by any competent person who will continue the study of these stones. The proper names now known will serve as points of departure, and it is probable that some research will give us the signs for verbs or adjectives connected with them.

It is an immense step to have rid ourselves of the phonetic or alphabetic idea, and to have found the manner in which the Maya mind represented attributes and ideas. Their method was that of all nations at the origin of written language; that is, pure picture-writing. At Copan this is found in its earliest state; at Palenque it was already highly conventionalized. The step from the Palenque character to that used in the Kabah inscription is apparently not greater than the step from the latter to the various manuscripts. An important research would be the application of the methods so ably applied by Dr. Allen to tracing the evolution of the latter characters from their earlier forms. In this way it will be possible to extend our present knowledge materially.

1. The Life Form in Art, Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc., vol. xv, 1873, p. 325.

2. From Kingsborough, vol. i, plate 48, it appears that Tlacli Tonatio may have had four hands. His name meant (?) Let there be light.

3. See Kingsborough, vol. ii, Plate I, of the Laud MS.

4. Since this was written I have seen a paper by Dr. Valentini, “The Landa alphabet a Spanish fabrication” (read before the American Antiquarian Society, April 28, 1880), and the conclusions of that paper seem to me to be undoubtedly correct. They are the same as those just given, but while my own were reached by a study of the stones and in the course of a general examination, Dr. Valentini has addressed himself successfully to the solution of a special problem.

5. See Brasseur de Bourbourg, Histoire du Mexique, vol. i, p. 328.










The map included with this paper was taken from a longer article by the same author on the same subject, published in BAE Annual Report 18. The map is identical except for section numbers; the legend was edited in from a monochrome scan of the original, colorized to match. In the relevant part of the text (pages 257ff.), revised numbers are shown in the same way as corrections, with mouse-hover popups. A very large, clickable version of the map is available online at the Library of Congress.



Character of the Indian title Page 249
Indian boundaries 253
Original and secondary cessions 256


Map of the State of Indiana (unnumbered) Facing page 248

Map of the State of Indiana Exhibiting the Lands Ceded by the Indian Tribes to the United States.

Larger View



By C. C. Royce.


The social and political relations that have existed and still continue between the Government of the United States and the several Indian tribes occupying territory within its geographical limits are, in many respects, peculiar.

The unprecedentedly rapid increase and expansion of the white population of the country, bringing into action corresponding necessities for the acquisition and subjection of additional territory, have maintained a constant straggle between civilization and barbarism. Involved as a factor in this social conflict, was the legal title to the land occupied by Indians. The questions raised were whether in law or equity the Indians were vested with any stronger title than that of mere tenants at will, subject to be dispossessed at the pleasure or convenience of their more civilized white neighbors, and, if so, what was the nature and extent of such stronger title?

These questions have been discussed and adjudicated from time to time by the executive and judicial authorities of civilized nations ever since the discovery of America.

The discovery of this continent, with its supposed marvelous wealth of precious metals and commercial woods, gave fresh impetus to the ambition and cupidity of European monarchs.

Spain, France, Holland, and England each sought to rival the other in the magnitude and value of their discoveries. As the primary object of each of these European potentates was the same, and it was likely to lead to much conflict of jurisdiction, the necessity of some general rule became apparent, whereby their respective claims might be acknowledged and adjudicated without resort to the arbitrament of arms. Out of this necessity grew the rule which became a part of the recognized law of nations, and which gave the preference of title to the monarch whose vessels should be the first to discover, rather than to the one who should first enter upon the possession of new lands. The exclusion under this rule of all other claimants gave to the discovering nation the sole right of acquiring the soil from the natives and of planting settlements thereon. This was a right asserted by all the commercial nations of Europe, and fully recognized in their dealings with each 250 other; and the assertion, of such a right necessarily carried with it a modified denial of the Indian title to the land discovered. It recognized in them nothing but a possessory title, involving a right of occupancy and enjoyment until such time as the European sovereign should purchase it from them. The ultimate fee was held to reside in such sovereign, whereby the natives were inhibited from alienating in any manner their right of possession to any but that sovereign or his subjects.

The recognition of these principles seems to have been complete, as is evidenced by the history of America from its discovery to the present day. France, England, Portugal, and Holland recognized them unqualifiedly, and even Catholic Spain did not predicate her title solely upon the grant of the Holy See.

No one of these countries was more zealous in her maintenance of these doctrines than England. In 1496 King Henry VII commissioned John and Sebastian Cabot to proceed upon a voyage of discovery and to take possession of such countries as they might find which were then unknown to Christian people, in the name of the King of England. The results of their voyages in the next and succeeding years laid the foundation for the claim of England to the territory of that portion of North America which subsequently formed the nucleus of our present possessions.

The policy of the United States since the adoption of the Federal Constitution has in this particular followed the precedent established by the mother country. In the treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States following the Revolutionary war, the former not only relinquished the right of government, but renounced and yielded to the United States all pretensions and claims whatsoever to all the country south and west of the great northern rivers and lakes as far as the Mississippi.

In the period between the conclusion of this treaty and the year 1789 it was undoubtedly the opinion of Congress that the relinquishment of territory thus made by Great Britain, without so much as a saving clause guaranteeing the Indian right of occupancy, carried with it an absolute and unqualified fee-simple title unembarrassed by any intermediate estate or tenancy. In the treaties held with the Indians during this period—notably those of Fort Stanwix, with the Six Nations, in 1784, and Fort Finney, with the Shawnees, in 1786—they had been required to acknowledge the United States as the sole and absolute sovereign of all the territory ceded by Great Britain.

This claim, though unintelligible to the savages in its legal aspects, was practically understood by them to be fatal to their independence and territorial rights. Although in a certain degree the border tribes had been defeated in their conflicts with the United States, they still retained sufficient strength and resources to render them formidable antagonists, especially when the numbers and disposition of their 251 adjoining and more remote allies were taken into consideration. The breadth, and boldness of the territorial claims thus asserted by the United States were not long in producing their natural effect. The active and sagacious Brant succeeded in reviving his favorite project of an alliance between the Six Nations and the northwestern tribes. He experienced but little trouble in convening a formidable assemblage of Indians at Huron Village, opposite Detroit, where they held council together from November 28 to December 18, 1786.

These councils resulted in the presentation of an address to Congress, wherein they expressed an earnest desire for peace, but firmly insisted that all treaties carried on with the United States should be with the general voice of the whole confederacy in the most open manner; that the United States should prevent surveyors and others from crossing the Ohio River; and they proposed a general treaty early in the spring of 1787. This address purported to represent the Five Nations, Hurons, Ottawas, Twichtwees, Shawanese, Chippewas, Cherokees, Delawares, Pottawatomies, and the Wabash Confederates, and was signed with the totem of each tribe.

Such a remonstrance, considering the weakness of the government under the old Articles of Confederation, and the exhausted condition immediately following the Revolution, produced a profound sensation in Congress. That body passed an act providing for the negotiation of a treaty or treaties, and making an appropriation for the purchase and extinguishment of the Indian claim to certain lands. These preparations and appropriations resulted in two treaties made at Fort Harmar, January 9, 1789, one with the Six Nations, and the other with the Wiandot, Delaware, Ottawa, Chippewa, Pottawatima, and Sac Nations, wherein the Indian title of occupancy is clearly acknowledged. That the government so understood and recognized this principle as entering into the text of those treaties is evidenced by a communication bearing date June 15, 1789, from General Knox, then Secretary of War, to President Washington, and which was communicated by the latter on the same day to Congress, in which it is declared that—

The Indians, being the prior occupants, possess the right of soil. It cannot be taken from them, unless by their free consent, or by right of conquest in case of a just war. To dispossess them on any other principle would be a gross violation of the fundamental laws of nature, and of that distributive justice which is the glory of a nation.

The principle thus outlined and approved by the administration of President Washington, although more than once questioned by interested parties, has almost, if not quite, invariably been sustained by the legal tribunals of the country, at least by the courts of final resort; and the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States bear consistent testimony to its legal soundness. Several times has this question in different forms appeared before the latter tribunal for adjudication, and in each case has the Indian right been recognized and protected. In 1823, 1831, and 1832, Chief Justice Marshall successively delivered 252 the opinion of the court in important cases involving the Indian status and rights. In the second of these cases (The Cherokee Nation vs. The State of Georgia) it was maintained that the Cherokees were a state and had uniformly been treated as such since the settlement of the country; that the numerous treaties made with them by the United States recognized them as a people capable of maintaining the relations of peace and war; of being responsible in their political character for any violation of their engagements, or for any aggression committed on the citizens of the United States by any individual of their community; that the condition of the Indians in their relations to the United States is perhaps unlike that of any other two peoples on the globe; that, in general, nations not owing a common allegiance are foreign to each other, but that the relation of the Indians to the United States is marked by peculiar and cardinal distinctions which exist nowhere else; that the Indians were acknowledged to have an unquestionable right to the lands they occupied until that right should be extinguished by a voluntary cession to our government; that it might well be doubted whether those tribes which reside within the acknowledged boundaries of the United States could with strict accuracy be denominated foreign nations, but that they might more correctly perhaps be denominated domestic dependent nations; that they occupied a territory to which we asserted a title independent of their will, but which only took effect in point of possession when their right of possession ceased.

The Government of the United States having thus been committed in all of its departments to the recognition of the principle of the Indian right of possession, it becomes not only a subject of interest to the student of history, but of practical value to the official records of the government, that a carefully compiled work should exhibit the boundaries of the several tracts of country which have been acquired from time to time, within the present limits of the United States, by cession or relinquishment from the various Indian tribes, either through the medium of friendly negotiations and just compensation, or as the result of military conquest. Such a work, if accurate, would form the basis of any complete history of the Indian tribes in their relations to, and influence upon the growth and diffusion of our population and civilization. Such a contribution to the historical collections of the country should comprise:

1st. A series of maps of the several States and Territories, on a scale ranging from ten to sixteen miles to an inch, grouped in atlas form, upon which should be delineated in colors the boundary lines of the various tracts of country ceded to the United States from time to time by the different Indian tribes.

2d. An accompanying historical text, not only reciting the substance of the material provisions of the several treaties, but giving a history of the causes leading to them, as exhibited in contemporaneous official correspondence and other trustworthy data.


3d. A chronologic list of treaties with the various Indian tribes, exhibiting the names of tribes, the date, place where, and person by whom negotiated.

4th. An alphabetic list of all rivers, lakes, mountains, villages, and other objects or places mentioned in such treaties, together with their location and the names by which they are at present known.

5th. An alphabetic list of the principal rivers, lakes, mountains, and other topographic features in the United States, showing not only their present names but also the various names by which they have from time to time been known since the discovery of America, giving in each case the date and the authority therefor.


The most difficult and laborious feature of the work is that involved under the first of these five subdivisions. The ordinary reader in following the treaty provisions, in which the boundaries of the various cessions are so specifically and minutely laid down, would anticipate but little difficulty in tracing those boundaries upon the modern map. In this he would find himself sadly at fault. In nearly all of the treaties concluded half a century or more ago, wherein cessions of land were made, occur the names of boundary points which are not to be found on any modern map, and which have never been known to people of the present generation living in the vicinity.

In many of the older treaties this is the case with a large proportion of the boundary points mentioned. The identification and exact location of these points thus becomes at once a source of much laborious research. Not unfrequently weeks and even months of time have been consumed, thousands of old maps and many volumes of books examined, and a voluminous correspondence conducted with local historical societies or old settlers, in the effort to ascertain the location of a single boundary point.

To illustrate this difficulty, the case of “Hawkins’ line” may be cited, a boundary line mentioned in the cession by the Cherokees by treaty of October 2, 1798. An examination of more than four thousand old and modern maps and the scanning of more than fifty volumes failed to show its location or to give even the slightest clue to it. A somewhat extended correspondence with numerous persons in Tennessee, including the veteran annalist, Ramsey, also failed to secure the desired information. It was not until months of time had been consumed and probable sources of information had been almost completely exhausted that, through the persevering inquiries of Hon. John M. Lea, of Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with the present writer’s own investigations, the line was satisfactorily identified as being the boundary line mentioned in 254 the Cherokee treaty of July 2, 1791, and described as extending from the North Carolina boundary “north to a point from which a line is to be extended to the river Clinch that shall pass the Holston at the ridge which divides the waters running into Little River from those running into the Tennessee.”

It gained the title of “Hawkins’ line” from the fact that a man named Hawkins surveyed it.

That this is not an isolated case, and as an illustration of the number and frequency of changes in local geographical names in this country, it may be remarked that in twenty treaties concluded by the Federal Government with the various Indian tribes prior to the year 1800, in an aggregate of one hundred and twenty objects and places therein recited, seventy-three of them are wholly ignored in the latest edition of Colton’s Atlas; and this proportion will hold with but little diminution in the treaties negotiated during the twenty years immediately succeeding that date.

Another and most perplexing question has been the adjustment of the conflicting claims of different tribes of Indians to the same territory. In the earlier days of the Federal period, when the entire country west of the Alleghanies was occupied or controlled by numerous contiguous tribes, whose methods of subsistence involved more or less of nomadic habit, and who possessed large tracts of country then of no greater value than merely to supply the immediate physical wants of the hunter and fisherman, it was not essential to such tribes that a careful line of demarkation should define the limits of their respective territorial claims and jurisdiction. When, however, by reason of treaty negotiations with the United States, with a view to the sale to the latter of a specific area of territory within clearly-defined boundaries, it became essential for the tribe with whom the treaty was being negotiated to make assertion and exhibit satisfactory proof of its possessory title to the country it proposed to sell, much controversy often arose with other adjoining tribes, who claimed all or a portion of the proposed cession. These conflicting claims were sometimes based upon ancient and immemorial occupancy, sometimes upon early or more recent conquest, and sometimes upon a sort of wholesale squatter-sovereignty title whereby a whole tribe, in the course of a sudden and perhaps forced migration, would settle down upon an unoccupied portion of the territory of some less numerous tribe, and by sheer intimidation maintain such occupancy.

In its various purchases from the Indians, the Government of the United States, in seeking to quiet these conflicting territorial claims, have not unfrequently been compelled to accept from two, and even three, different tribes separate relinquishments of their respective rights, titles, and claims to the same section of country. Under such circumstances it can readily be seen, what difficulties would attend a clear exhibition upon a single map of these various coincident and overlapping strips of territory. The State of Illinois affords an excellent illustration. 255 The conflicting cessions in that State may be briefly enumerated as follows:

1. The cession at the mouth of Chicago River, by treaty of August 3, 1795, was also included within the limits of a subsequent cession made by treaty of August 24, 1816, with the Ottawas, Chippewas, and Pottawatomies.

2. The cession at the mouth of the Illinois River, by treaty of 1795, was overlapped by the Kaskaskia cession of 1803, again by the Sac and Fox cession of 1804, and a third time by the Kickapoo cession of 1819.

3. The cession at “Old Peoria Fort, or village,” by treaty of 1795, was also overlapped in like manner with the last preceding one.

4. The cessions of 1795 at Fort Massac and at Great Salt Spring are within the subsequent cession by the Kaskaskias of 1803.

5. The cession of August 13, 1803, by the Kaskaskias, as ratified and enlarged by the Kaskaskias and Peorias September 25, 1818, overlaps the several sessions by previous treaty of 1795 at the mouth of the Illinois River, at Great Salt Spring, at Fort Massac, and at Old Peoria Fort, and is in turn overlapped by subsequent cessions of July 30, and August 30, 1819, by the Kickapoos and by the Pottawatomie cession of October 20, 1832.

6. The Sac and Fox cession of November 3, 1804 (partly in Missouri and Wisconsin) overlaps the cessions of 1795 at the mouth of the Illinois River and at Old Peoria Fort. It is overlapped by two Chippewa, Ottawa, and Pottawatomie cessions of July 29, 1829, the Winnebago cessions of August 1, 1829, and September 1, 1832, and by the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Pottawatomie cession of September 26, 1833.

7. The Piankeshaw cession of December 30, 1805, is overlapped by the Kickapoo cession of 1819.

8. The Ottawa, Chippewa, and Pottawatomie cession of August 24, 1816, overlaps the cession of 1795 around Chicago.

9. The cession of October 2, 1818, by the Pottawatomies (partly in Indiana), is overlapped by the subsequent cession of 1819, by the Kickapoos.

10. The combined cessions of July 30, and August 30, 1819, by the Kickapoos (partly in Indiana), overlap the cessions of 1795 at the mouth of the Illinois River and at Old Fort Peoria; also the Kaskaskia and Peoria cessions of 1803 and 1818, the Piankeshaw cession of 1805, and the Pottawatomie cession of October 2, 1818, and are overlapped by the subsequent Pottawatomie cession of October 20, 1832.

11. Two cessions were made by the Chippewas, Ottawas and Pottawatomies by treaty of July 29, 1829 (partly located in Wisconsin), one of which is entirely and the other largely within the limits of the country previously ceded by the Sacs and Foxes, November 3, 1804.

12. The Winnebago cession of August 1, 1829 (which is partly in Wisconsin), is also wholly within the limits of the aforesaid Sac and Fox cession of 1804.


13. Cession by the Winnebagoes September 15, 1832, which is mostly in the State of Wisconsin and which was also within the limits of the Sac and Fox cession of 1804.

14. Pottawatomie cession of October 20, 1832, which overlaps the Kaskaskia and Peoria cession of August 13, 1803, as confirmed and enlarged September 25, 1818, and also the Kickapoo cession by treaties of July 30 and August 30, 1819.

From this it will be seen that almost the entire country comprising the present State of Illinois was the subject of controversy in the matter of original ownership, and that the United States, in order fully to extinguish the Indian claim thereto, actually bought it twice, and some portions of it three times. It is proper, however, to add in this connection that where the government at the date of a purchase from one tribe was aware of an existing claim to the same region by another tribe, it had the effect of diminishing the price paid.


Another difficulty that has arisen, and one which, in order to avoid confusion, will necessitate the duplication in the atlas of the maps of several States, is the attempt to show not only original, but also secondary cessions of land. The policy followed by the United States for many years in negotiating treaties with the tribes east of the Mississippi River included the purchase of their former possessions and their removal west of that river to reservations set apart for them within the limits of country purchased for that purpose from its original owners, and which were in turn retroceded to the United States by its secondary owners. This has been largely the case in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Indian Territory. The present State of Kansas, for instance, was for the most part the inheritance of the Kansas and Osage tribes. It was purchased from them by the provisions of the treaties of June 2, 1825, with the Osage, and June 3, 1825, with the Kansas tribe, they, however, reserving in each case a tract sufficiently large for their own use and occupancy. These and subsequent cessions of these two tribes must be shown upon a map of “original cessions.”

After securing these large concessions from the Kansas and Osages, the government, in pursuance of the policy above alluded to, sought to secure the removal of the remnant of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois tribes to this region by granting them, in part consideration for their eastern possessions, reservations therein of size and location suitable to their wishes and necessities. In this way homes were provided for the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawnees, Pottawatomies, Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi, Kickapoos, the Confederated Kaskaskias, Peorias, Piankeshaws, 257 and Weas, the Ottawas of Blanchard’s Fork and Roche de Boeuf, and the Chippewas and Munsees. A few years of occupation again found the advancing white settlements encroaching upon their domain, with the usual accompanying demand for more land. Cessions, first; of a portion and finally of the remnant, of these reservations followed, coupled with the removal of the Indians to Indian Territory. These several reservations and cessions must be indicated upon a map of “secondary cessions.”

Object illustration is much more striking and effective than mere verbal description. In order, therefore, to secure to the reader the clearest possible understanding of the subject, there is herewith presented as an illustration a map of the State of Indiana, upon which is delineated the boundaries of the different tracts of land within that State ceded to the United States from time to time by treaty with the various Indian tribes.

The cessions are as follows:

No. 1. A tract lying east of a line running from opposite the mouth of Kentucky River, in a northerly direction, to Fort Recovery, in Ohio, and which forms a small portion of the western end of the cession made by the first paragraph of article 3, treaty of August 3, 1795, with the Wyandots, Delawares, Miamis, and nine other tribes. Its boundaries are indicated by scarlet lines. The bulk of the cession is in Ohio.

No. 2. Six miles square at confluence of Saint Mary’s and Saint Joseph’s Rivers, including Fort Wayne; also ceded by treaty of August 3, 1795, and bounded on the map by scarlet lines.

No. 3. Two miles square on the Wabash, at the end of the Portage of the Miami of the Lake; also ceded by treaty of August 3, 1795, and bounded on the map by scarlet lines.

No. 4. Six miles square at Outatenon, or Old Wea Towns, on the Wabash; also ceded by treaty of August 3, 1795, and bounded on the map by scarlet lines. This tract was subsequently retroceded to the Indians by article 8, treaty of September 30, 1809, and finally included within the Pottawatomie session of October 2, 1818, and the Miami cession of October 6, 1818.

No. 5. Clarke’s grant on the Ohio River; stipulated in deed from Virginia to the United States in 1784 to be granted to General George Rogers Clarke and his soldiers. This tract was specially excepted from the limits of the Indian country by treaty of August 3, 1795, and is bounded on the map by scarlet lines.

No. 6. “Post of Vincennes and adjacent country, to which the Indian title has been extinguished.” This tract was specially excluded from the limits of the Indian country by treaty of August 3, 1795. Doubt having arisen as to its proper boundaries, they were specifically defined by treaty of June 7, 1803. It is known as the “Vincennes tract”; is partly in Illinois, and is bounded on the map by scarlet lines.

No. 7. Tract ceded by the treaties of August 18, 1804, with the Delawares, 258 and August 27, 1804, with the Piankeshaws. In the southern part of the State, and bounded on the map by green lines.

No. 8. Cession by the treaty of August 21, 1805, with the Miamis, Eel Rivers, and Weas, in the southeastern part of the State, and designated by blue lines.

No. 9. Cession by treaty of September 30, 1809, with the Miami, Eel River, Delaware, and Pottawatomie tribes, adjoining “Vincennes tract” (No. 9) on the north, and designated by yellow lines. This cession was concurred in by the Weas in the treaty of October 26, 1809.

No. 10. Cession by the same treaty of September 30, 1809; in the southeastern portion of the State; bounded on the map by yellow lines.

No. 11. Cession also by the treaty of September 30, 1809; marked by crimson lines, and partly in Illinois. This cession was conditional upon the consent of the Kickapoos, which was obtained by the treaty with them of December 9, 1809.

No. 12. Cession by the Kickapoos, December 9, 1809, which was subsequently reaffirmed by them June 4, 1816. It was also assented to by the Weas October 2, 1818, and by the Miamis October 6, 1818. It is partly in Illinois, and is bounded on the map by green lines. The Kickapoos also assented to the cession No. 11 by the Miamis et al., of September 30, 1809.

No. 13. Cession by the Wyandots, September 29, 1817. This is mostly in Ohio, and is bounded on the map by yellow lines.

No. 14. Cession by the Pottawatomies, October 2, 1818; partly in Illinois, and is denoted by brown lines. A subsequent treaty of August 30, 1819, with the Kickapoos, cedes a tract of country (No. 16) which overlaps this cession, the overlap being indicated by a dotted blue line.

By the treaty of October 2, 1818, the Weas ceded all the land claimed by them in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, except a small reserve on the Wabash River. Their claim was of a general and indefinite character, and is fully covered by more definite cessions by other tribes.

By the treaty of October 3, 1818, the Delawares ceded all their claim to land in Indiana. This claim, which they held in joint tenancy with the Miamis, was located on the waters of White River, and it is included within the tract marked 15, ceded by the Miamis October 6, 1818.

No. 15. Cession by the Miamis, October 6, 1818; bounded on the map by purple lines. Its general boundaries cover all of Central Indiana and a small portion of Western Ohio, but within its limits were included the Wea Reservation of 1818 (No. 17), and six tracts of different dimensions were reserved for the future use of the Miamis [Nos. 21, 29 (30 and 50), (31, 48, 53, and 54), 49, and 51]. The Miamis also assented to the Kickapoo cession of December 9, 1809 (No. 12). The Kickapoos in turn, by treaty of July 30, 1819, relinquished all claim to country southeast of the Wabash, which was an indefinite tract, and is covered by the foregoing Miami cession of 1818.

No. 16. Cession by the Kickapoos, August 30, 1819. This cession is 259 bounded on the map by blue lines, and is largely in Illinois. It overlaps the Pottawatomie cession of October 2, 1818 (No. 14), the overlap being indicated by a dotted blue line. It is inborn overlapped by the Pottawatomie cession (No. 23) of October 26, 1832.

No. 17. Cession by the Weas, August 11, 1820, of the tract reserved by them October 2, 1818. It is on the Wabash River, in the western part of the State, and is indicated by blue lines. It is within the general limits of the Miami cession (No. 15) of October 6, 1818.

No. 18. Cession of August 29, 1821, by the Ottowas, Chippewas, and Pottawatomies, indicated by green lines, and mostly in Michigan.

No. 19. Cession by the Pottawatomies, by first clause of first article of the treaty of October 16, 1826. It lies north of Wabash River, and is bounded on the map by blue lines. This and an indefinite extent of adjoining country was also claimed by the Miamis, who ceded their claim thereto October 23, 1826, with the exception of sundry small reservations, four of which [Nos. 26, 27, 32, and 52] were partially or entirely within the general limits of the Pottawatomie.

No. 20. Cession by the last clause of the first article of the Pottawatomie treaty of October 16, 1826; in the northwest corner of the State, and bounded on the map by scarlet lines.

As above stated, the Miamis, by treaty of October 23, 1826, ceded all their claim to land in Indiana lying north and west of the Wabash and Miami (Maumee) Rivers, except six small tribal, and a number of individual reserves and grants. These six tribal, reserves were numbers 23, 27, 32, 52, 25, and 28, the first four of which, as above remarked, were either partially or entirely within the Pottawatomie cession by the first clause of the first article of the treaty of October 16, 1826, and the other two within the Pottawatomie cession of October 27, 1832.

No. 21. Cession by the Eel River Miamis, February 11, 1828, bounded on the map by green lines. This tract is within the general limits of the Miami cession (No. 15) of 1818, and was reserved therefrom.

No. 22. Cession by the second clause of the first article of the Pottawatomie treaty of September 20, 1828, designated by brown lines.

No. 23. Cession by the Pottawatomies, October 26, 1832, is in the northwest portion of the State, and is indicated by yellow lines. Near the southwest corner it overlaps the Kickapoo cession (No. 16) of August 30, 1819. Within the general limits of this cession seven tracts were reserved for different bands of the tribe, which will be found on the map numbered as follows: 33, 34, 39, 40 (two reserves), 41, and 42.

No. 24. Cession by the Pottawatomies of Indiana and Michigan, October 27, 1832, which in terms is a relinquishment of their claim to any remaining lands in the States of Indiana and Illinois, and in the Territory of Michigan south of Grand River. The cession thus made in Indiana is bounded on the map by scarlet lines. Within the general limits of this cession, however, they reserved for the use of various bands of the tribe eleven tracts of different areas, and which are numbered as follows: 35, 36, 37, 38, 43 (two reserves), 44 (two reserves), 45, 46, and 47.


Nos. 25 to 32, inclusive. Cession of October 23, 1834, by the Miamis, of eight small tracts previously reserved to them, all bounded on the map by green lines. These are located as follows:

No. 25. Tract of thirty-six sections at Flat Belly’s village, reserved by treaty of 1826; in townships 33 and 34 north, ranges 7 and 8 east.

No. 26. Tract of five miles in length on the Wabash, extending back to Eel River, reserved by treaty of 1826; in townships 27 and 28 north, ranges 4 and 5 east.

No. 27. Tract of ten sections at Raccoon’s Village, reserved by the treaty of 1826; in townships 29 and 30 north, ranges 10 and 11 east.

No. 28. Tract of ten sections on Mud Creek, reserved by the treaty of 1826; in township 28 north, range 4 east. The treaty of October 27, 1832, with the Pottawatomies, established a reserve of sixteen sections for the bands of Ash-kum and Wee-si-o-nas (No. 46), and one of five sections for the band of Wee-sau (No. 47), which overlapped and included nearly all the territory comprised in the Mud Creek reserve.

No. 29. Tract of two miles square on Salamanie River, at the mouth of At-che-pong-quawe Creek, reserved by the treaty of 1818; in township 23 north, ranges 13 and 14 east.

No. 30. A portion of the tract opposite the mouth of Aboutte River, reserved by the treaty of 1818; in townships 29 and 30 north, ranges 10, 11, and 12 east.

No. 31. A portion of the tract known as the “Big Reserve,” established by the treaty of 1818; in townships 21 to 27, inclusive, ranges 1 and 2 east.

No. 32. Tract of ten sections at the Forks of the Wabash, reserved by the treaty of 1826. This cession provides for the relinquishment of the Indian title and the issuance of a patent to John B. Richardville therefor. In township 28 north, ranges 8 and 9 east.

No. 33. Cession of December 4, 1834, by Com-o-za’s band of Pottawatomies, of a tract of two sections reserved for them on the Tippecanoe River by the treaty of October 26, 1832.

No. 34. Cession of December 10, 1834, by Mau-ke-kose’s (Muck-rose) band of Pottawatomies, of six sections reserved to them by the treaty of October 26, 1832; in township 32 north, range 2 east, and bounded on the map by crimson lines.

No. 35. Cession of December 16, 1834, by the Pottawatomies, of two sections reserved by the treaty of October 27, 1832, to include their mills on the Tippecanoe River.

No. 36. Cession of December 17, 1834, by Mota’s band of Pottawatomies, of four sections reserved for them by the treaty of October 27, 1832; in townships 32 and 33 north, range 5 east, indicated by blue lines.

No. 37. Cession of March 26, 1836, by Mes-quaw-buck’s band of Pottawatomies, of four sections reserved to them by the treaty of October 27, 1832; in township 33 north, range 6 east, indicated by crimson lines.


No. 38. Cession of March 29, 1836, by Che-case’s band of Pottawatomies, of four sections reserved for them by the treaty of October 27, 1832; in townships 32 and 33 north, ranges 5 and 6 east, bounded on the map by yellow lines.

No. 39. Cession of April 11, 1836, by Aub-ba-naub-bee’s band of Pottawatomies, of thirty-six sections reserved for them, by the treaty of October 26, 1832. In townships 31 and 32 north, ranges 1 and 2 east, bounded on the map by blue lines.

No. 40. Cession of April 22, 1836, by the bands of O-kaw-mause, Kee-waw-nee, Nee-boash, and Ma-che-saw (Mat-chis-jaw), of ten sections reserved to them by the Pottawatomie treaty of October 26, 1832.

No. 41. Cession of April 22, 1836, by the bands of Nas-waw-kee (Nees-waugh-gee) and Quash-quaw, of three sections reserved for them by the treaty of October 26, 1832; in township 32 north, range 1 east, bounded on the map by scarlet lines.

No. 42. Cession of August 5, 1836, by the bands of Pee-pin-ah-waw, Mack-kah-tah-mo-may, and No-taw-kah (Pottawatomies), of twenty-two sections reserved for them and the band of Menom-i-nee (the latter of which does not seem to be mentioned in the treaty of cession), by treaty of October 26, 1832; in township 33 north, ranges 1 and 2 east, bounded on the map by green lines.

No. 43. Cession of September 20, 1836, by the bands of To-i-sas brother Me-mot-way, and Che-quaw-ka-ko, of ten sections reserved for them by the Pottawatomie treaty of October 27, 1832, and cession of September 22, 1836, by Ma-sac’s band of Pottawatomies, of four sections reserved for them by the treaty of October 27, 1832; in township 31 north, range 3 east, bounded on the map by crimson lines.

Nos. 44 to 47, inclusive. Cessions of September 23, 1836, by various bands of Pottawatomies, of lands reserved for them by the treaty of 1832 (being all of their remaining lands in Indiana), as follows:

No. 44. Four sections each for the bands of Kin-kash and Men-o-quet; in township 33 north, ranges 5 and 6 east, bounded on the map by crimson lines.

No. 45. Ten sections for the band of Che-chaw-kose; in township 32 north, range 4 east, designated by scarlet lines.

No. 46. Sixteen sections for the bands of Ash-kum and Wee-si-o-nas; in townships 28 and 29 north, range 4 east, bounded on the map by a dotted black line, and overlapping No. 28.

No. 47. Five sections for the band of Wee-sau; in township 28 north, range 4 east, adjoining No. 46, bounded on the map by a dotted black line, and overlapping Nos. 19 and 28.

A cession for the second time is also made by this treaty of the four sections reserved for the band of Mota (No. 35), by the treaty of October 27, 1832.

Nos. 48 to 52, inclusive. Cessions of November 6, 1838, by the Miamis, as follows:

No. 48. A portion of the “Big Reserve,” in townships 25, 26, and 262 27 north, ranges 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 east, bounded on the map by crimson lines, within the limits of which is reserved a tract for the band of Me-to-sin-ia, numbered 54.

No. 49. The reservation by the treaty of 1818, on the Wabash River, below the forks thereof; in townships 27 and 28 north, ranges 8 and 9 east, bounded on the map by scarlet lines.

No. 50. The remainder of the tract reserved by the treaty of 1818, opposite the mouth of Abouette River; in townships 28 and 29 north, ranges 10, 11, and 12 east, denoted by crimson lines.

No. 51. The reserve by the treaty of 1818 at the mouth of Flat Rock Creek; in township 27 north, ranges 10 and 11 east, bounded on the map by crimson lines.

No. 52. The reserve at Seek’s Village by the treaty of 1826; in townships 31 and 32 north, ranges 9 and 10 east, marked by yellow lines.

No. 53. Cession of November 28, 1840, of the residue of the “Big Reserve” (except the grant to Me-to-sin-ia’s band No. 54); in townships 21 to 26 north, ranges 2 to 7 east, designated by yellow lines.

No. 54. By the Miami treaty of November 6, 1838, a reserve of ten miles square was made (out of the general cession) for the band of Me-to-sin-ia. By the treaty of November 28, 1840, the United States agreed to convey this tract to Me-shing-go-me-sia, son of Me-to-sin-ia, in trust for the band.

By act of Congress approved June 10, 1872, this reserve was partitioned among the members of the band, 63 in number, and patents issued to each of them for his or her share. It is in townships 25 and 26 north, ranges 6 and 7 east, and is bounded on the map by green lines.

This ended all Indian tribal title to lands within the State of Indiana.

The results to accrue from the researches contemplated under the 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th subdivisions of the work suggested have already been outlined with sufficient clearness, and need not be farther elaborated here.

A source of much delay in the collection of facts essential to the completion of the work is the apparent indifference of librarians and others in responding to letters of inquiry. Some, however, have entered most zealously and intelligently into the work of searching musty records and interviewing the traditional “oldest inhabitant” for light on these dark spots. Thanks are especially due in this regard to Hon. John M. Lea, Nashville, Tenn.; William Harden, librarian State Historical Society, Savannah, Ga.; K. A. Linderfelt, librarian Public Library, Milwaukee, Wis.; Dr. John A. Rice, Merton, Wis.; Hon. John Wentworth, Chicago, Ill.; A. Cheesebrough and Hon. J. N. Campbell, of Detroit, Mich.; D. S. Durrie, librarian State Historical Society, Madison, Wis.; H. M. Robinson, Milwaukee, Wis.; Andrew Jackson, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; A. W. Rush, Palmyra, Mo.; H. C. Campbell, Centreville, Mich., and others.













Introductory Page 555
List of manuscripts 562



By James C. Pilling.

Mr. Henry R. Schoolcraft, while engaged in the preparation of his work—“Information respecting the History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States”—sent to various persons residing among the Indians a “Comparative Vocabulary of the Languages of the Indian Tribes of the United States,” a quarto paper of 25 pages, comprising 350 words, and the numerals one to one billion. The returns from this were for the most part incorporated in his work; a few, however, found their way into the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1853-’54, Mr. George Gibbs, while engaged under Gov. Isaac I. Stevens in “Explorations for a route for the Pacific Railroad near the 47th and 49th parallels of north latitude,” became interested in the study of the languages of the Indians inhabiting the Northwest, and collected many vocabularies. To further extend this work, he prepared and had printed a folio paper of three leaves entitled “A vocabulary of 180 words which it is desired to collect in the different languages and dialects throughout the Pacific Coast for publication by the Smithsonian Institute at Washington.”

These were sent to such persons as, in his judgment, were competent to furnish the material desired, and many of them, filled or partly filled, were returned to him. A second edition of this vocabulary, 6 ll., folio, was issued.

In 1863 there was published by the Smithsonian Institution a pamphlet with the following title:

Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. | —160— | Instructions | for research relative to the | Ethnology and Philology | of | America. | Prepared for the Smithsonian Institution. | By | George Gibbs. | Washington: | Smithsonian Institution: | March, 1863.

2 p. ll., pp. 1-51. 8o.

In his introductory remarks, Professor Henry thus states the object of the paper:

“The Smithsonian Institution is desirous of extending and completing its collections of facts and materials relative to the Ethnology, Archæology, and Philology of the races of mankind inhabiting, either now or at any previous period, the continent of America, and earnestly solicits 556 the coöperation in this object of all officers of the United States Government, and travellers or residents who may have it in their power to render any assistance.”

Under the head of Philology, Mr. Gibbs gave a brief account of some of the peculiarities of Indian languages, with general directions for the best method of collecting certain words; a simple and practical alphabet; and a vocabulary in English, Spanish, French, and Latin of 211 words. Speaking of the latter, he says:

“In view of the importance of a uniform system in collecting words of the various Indian languages of North America, adapted to the use of officers of the government, travellers, and others, the following is recommended as a Standard Vocabulary. It is mainly the one prepared by the late Hon. Albert Gallatin, with a few changes made by Mr. Hale, the Ethnologist of the United States Exploring Expedition, and is adopted as that upon which nearly all the collections hitherto made for the purpose of comparison have been based. For the purpose of ascertaining the more obvious relations between the various members of existing families this number is deemed sufficient. The remote affinities must be sought in a wider research, demanding a degree of acquaintance with their languages beyond the reach of transient visitors.”

The vocabulary given in this paper was separately printed on writing paper, 10 ll., 4o, and reprinted, 6 ll., folio, and was distributed widely among the missionaries, Indian agents, travelers, and local collectors in ethnology, and has served a valuable purpose, resulting in the collection by the Smithsonian Institution of a large number of vocabularies, comprising many of the languages and dialects of the Indian tribes of the United States, British America, and Mexico.

This material, as it was received, was placed in the hands of Mr. Gibbs for revision and classification—a work in which he was engaged at the time of his death, which occurred before any of it was published.

In 1876, Professor Henry turned this material over to Maj. J. W. Powell, then in charge of the United States Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, to be consolidated and published in connection with like material collected by himself and his assistants while among the Indians of the western portion of the United States. A number were accordingly published in the “Contributions to North American Ethnology,” Vols. I and III, a quarto series issued by the Survey.

Wishing to extend the work already begun by the Smithsonian Institution, Major Powell, in 1877, prepared the following paper:

Introduction | to the | Study of Indian Languages, | with words, phrases, and sentences to be collected. | By J. W. Powell. | Washington: | Government Printing Office. | 1877.

Pp. 1-104, 10 ruled ll., 4o.

In his opening remarks, referring to the manuscripts derived from the distribution of Mr. Gibbs’ paper, the author says: “It has, in fact, 557 greatly stimulated investigation, giving wiser direction to inquiry, and the results have abundantly proved the value of the ‘Instructions’ and the wisdom of its publication; and it serves to mark an epoch in the history of ethnographic investigation in America. The material which has thus been accumulated is of great amount, and its study has led to such important conclusions that it is deemed wise to prepare a new system of instruction, more comprehensive in plan and more elaborate in detail. First, it is found necessary to enlarge the alphabet so as to include a greater number of sounds, which have been discovered in the North American languages, and to mark other letters with greater precision. Second, it is necessary to enlarge the vocabulary so as to modify it somewhat, as experience has dictated, so that new words may be collected. Third, it is desirable that many simple phrases and sentences should be given—so chosen as to bring out the more important characteristics of grammatic structure.”

In the preparation of this paper, the alphabet was considered to be of prime importance. Concerning it, the author says: “After devoting much time to the consideration of the subject, and the examination of many alphabets devised by scholars and linguists, none was found against which there was not serious objections, and the author attempted to devise an alphabet which would contain all the supposed requirements; but there were many difficulties in the way, and many compromises to be made in weighing the various considerations. At this stage of the work he applied to the eminent philologist, Prof. W. D. Whitney, for assistance. After much consultation and the weighing of the many considerations arising from the large amount of manuscript material in the author’s hands, Professor Whitney kindly prepared the following paper on the alphabet.”

The words, phrases, and sentences to be collected are arranged in schedules, each preceded by instructions, and followed by blanks for additions, as follows:

I. Persons, 15 words.
II. Parts of the body, 103 words.
III. Relationships:

Relationships arising from the first and second generations, 58 words.

Relationships arising from the third generation, 224 words.

Relationships arising from the fourth generation, 24 words.

Names of children in order of birth, 26 words.

IV. Social organization.
V. Governmental organization, 22 words.
VI. Religion, 6 words.
VII. Disposal of the dead, 8 words.
VIII. Dress and ornaments, 39 words.
IX. Dwellings, 26 words.
X. Implements and utensils, 36 words.
Basket-ware, 15 words.
Woodenware, 7 words.

Utensils of shell, horn, bone, &c., 5 words.

Stone implements, 13 words.
Pottery, &c., 11 words.
558 XI. Food, 6 words.
XII. Games and sports, 5 words.
XIII. Animals:
Mammals, 91 words.

Parts of the body, &c., of mammals, 36 words.

Birds, 192 words.

Parts of the body, &c., of birds, 26 words.

Fish, 12 words.

Parts of the body, &c., of fish, 12 words.

Reptiles, 6 words.
Insects, 11 words.
XIV. Trees, shrubs, fruits, &c., 8 words.

The firmament, meteorologic and other physical phenomena and objects, 41 words.

XVI. Geographic terms, 8 words.
XVII. Geographic names.
XVIII. Colors, 13 words.
XIX. Numerals:
Cardinal numbers, 58 words (1-1000).
Ordinal numbers, 30 words.

Numeral adverbs denoting repetition of action, 23 words.

Multiplicatives, 22 words.
Distributives, 23 words.
XX. Measures.
XXI. Divisions of time, 29 words.
XXII. Standard of value.
XXIII. New words, 84 words.

Phrases and sentences, 545 phrases, &c.

This paper was prepared with special reference to the wants of the collector, being printed on bond paper and bound in flexible cloth. It was widely distributed and, like that of Mr. Gibbs, resulted in the collection of valuable linguistic material.

In 1879 Congress consolidated the various surveys, including that of the Rocky Mountain Region, into the United States Geological Survey, but made provision for continuing the publication of the Contributions to North American Ethnology under the direction of the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and directed that the ethnologic material in Major Powell’s hands be turned over to the Institution. Thus the Bureau of Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institution was organized, and Major Powell was placed at its head.

By this time the growing interest manifested in the study of North American linguistics rendered necessary the preparation of a new edition of the Introduction. In the words of the author:

“The progress made by various students, and the studies made by the author, alike require that a new edition be prepared to meet the more advanced wants and to embody the results of wider studies. Under these circumstances the present edition is published. It does not purport to be a philosophic treatment of the subject of language; it is not a comparative grammar of Indian tongues; it is simply a series of explanations of certain characteristics almost universally found by students 559 of Indian languages—the explanations being of such a character as experience has shown would best meet the wants of persons practically at work in the field on languages with which they are unfamiliar. The book is a body of directions for collectors.

“It is believed that the system of schedules, followed seriatim, will lead the student in a proper way to the collection of linguistic materials; that the explanations given will assist him in overcoming the difficulties which he is sure to encounter; and that the materials when collected will constitute valuable contributions to philology. It has been the effort of the author to connect the study of language with the study of other branches of anthropology, for a language is best understood when the habits, customs, institutions, philosophy—the subject-matter of thought embodied in the language—are best known. The student of language should be a student of the people who speak the language; and to this end the book has been prepared, with many hints and suggestions relating to other branches of anthropology.”

The title of this publication is as follows:

Smithsonian Institution—Bureau of Ethnology | J. W. Powell Director | Introduction | to the | Study of Indian Languages | with | Words Phrases and Sentences to be Collected | By J. W. Powell | Second edition—with charts | Washington | Government Printing Office | 1880

Pp. i-xii, 1-228, and 8 ruled leaves. 4o.

The following is the


Chapter I.—On the Alphabet.
Vowels 4
Diphthongs 5
Consonants 6
Mutes 6
Nasals 7
Spirants 8
Sibilants 9
W, Y, R, L, and H 9
Interrupted sounds 11
Synthetic sounds 12
Complex combinations 13
Alphabet 14
Chapter II.—Hints and Explanations.
§   1. —Persons 18
§   2. —Parts of the body 18
§   3. —Dress and ornaments 18
§   4. —Dwellings 20
§   5. —Implements and utensils 23
§   6. —Food 24
§   7. —Colors 25
§   8. —Numerals 25
§   9. —Measures 26
560 § 10. —Division of time 27
§ 11. —Standards of value 27
§ 12. —Animals 28
§ 13. —Plants, &c. 29
§ 14. —Geographic terms 29
§ 15. —Geographic names 30
§ 16.

—The firmament, meteorologic and other physical phenomena and objects

§ 17. —Kinship 30
§ 18. —Social organization 38
§ 19. —Government 40
§ 20. —Religion 41
§ 21. —Mortuary customs 42
§ 22. —Medicine 43
§ 23. —Amusements 44
§ 24. —New words 45
Remarks on nouns 46
§ 25.

—Accidents of nouns—demonstrative and adjective pronouns

§ 26.

—Personal and article pronouns—transitive verbs

§ 27. —Possession 49
§ 28.

—Intransitive verbs—adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and nouns used as verbs

§ 29. —Voice, mode, and tense 51
§ 30.

—Additional investigations suggested

§ 31.

—On the best method of studying materials collected

§ 32. —The rank of Indian languages   69
Chapter III.—Schedules.
Schedule 1. —Persons     77
2. —Parts of the body 78
3. —Dress and ornaments 82
4. —Dwellings 84
5. —Implements and utensils 88
Wooden ware 90
Stone implements 91
Shell, horn, bone, &c. 92
Basket ware 93
Pottery 94
6. —Food 95
7. —Colors 96
8. —Numerals—Cardinal numbers 97
Ordinal numbers 98
Numeral adverbs, &c. 100
Multiplicatives 101
Distributives 102
9. —Measures 103
10. —Division of time 105
11. —Standards of value 107
12. —Animals—Mammals 109
Parts of body, &c., of mammals 113
Birds 115
Parts of body, &c., of birds 121
Fish 122
Parts of the body, &c., of fish 123
Reptiles 124
Insects 125
561 13. —Plants 127
14. —Geographic terms 129
15. —Geographic names 131

—The firmament, meteorologic and other physical phenomena and objects

17. —Kinship.—Relatives.—

Lineal descendants of self, male speaking


Lineal ascendants of self, male speaking


First collateral line, male speaking


Second collateral line, male speaking


Third collateral line, male speaking


Fourth collateral line (male branch), male speaking


Fourth collateral line (female branch), male speaking


Lineal descendants of self, female speaking


Lineal ascendants of self, female speaking


First collateral line, female speaking


Second collateral line, female speaking


Third collateral line, female speaking


Fourth collateral line (male branch), female speaking


Fourth collateral line (female branch), female speaking

Affinities through relatives—

Descendants of self, male speaking


First collateral line, male speaking


Second collateral line, male speaking


Third collateral line, male speaking


Affinities through the marriage of self, male speaking

Affinities through relatives—

Descendants of self, female speaking


First collateral line, female speaking


Second collateral line, female speaking


Third collateral line, female speaking


Affinities through the marriage of self, female speaking

Ordinal names of children 182
18. —Social organization 183
19. —Government 185
20. —Religion     186
21. —Mortuary customs 187
22. —Medicine 189
23. —Amusements 191
24. —New words 192

—Number and gender of nouns—Demonstrative and adjective pronouns


—Personal and article pronouns—Transitive verbs

27. —Possession 206
562 28.

—Intransitive verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and nouns used as verbs

29. —Voice, mode and tense 221

—Additional investigations suggested


Experience had demonstrated the propriety of some changes in the alphabet and a considerable enlargement of the scheme as given in the first edition of the work, and in the second Major Powell has made many modifications. The schedule of relationship was so large that graphic representation was considered necessary, and charts were prepared which it was thought both the student and the Indian could follow it with comparative ease. Experience has shown that the idea was well founded.

As in the first edition, blank spaces were given after each schedule for such additions as might suggest themselves to the collector; and to further facilitate the work separate alphabet cards of convenient size accompanied the volume.

This publication has not been long enough in the hands of collectors to meet with great returns, though a sufficient number have been received, filled or partly filled, to justify the Bureau in anticipating, in the not distant future, the receipt of a body of material prepared according to scientific methods which, when published, will prove a valuable contribution to this branch of ethnologic research.


Abbott (G. H.). Vocabulary of the Coquille; 180 words.

3 ll. folio. Collected in 1858, at the Silets Indian Agency.

Anderson (Alexander C.). Concordance of the Athabascan Languages, with Notes.

12 ll. folio. Comparative vocabulary of 180 words of the following dialects: Chipwyan, Tacully, Klatskanai, Willopah, Upper Umpqua, Tootooten, Applegate Creek, Hopah Haynarger.

—— Notes on the Indians of the Northwest Coast.

12 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Klatskanai Dialect of the Tahculli, Athabasca; 180 words.

3 ll. folio.

Arny (Gov. W. F. M.). Vocabulary of the Navajo Indians.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1874. Governor Arny was assisted by Prof. Valentine Friese and Rev. W. B. Forrey.

Arroyo de la Cuesta (P. Felipe). Idiomas Californios.

32 pp. folio. This manuscript, containing 12 short vocabularies, was copied from the original in Santa Barbara, Cal., by Mr. E. T. Murray. The following are the vocabularies: Esselen, or Huelel—Mutsun; San Antonio y San Miguel; San Luis Obispo; Nopthrinthres of San Juan Baptista—Yokuts; Canal de Santa Barbara; San Luis Rey; Karkin—Mutsun; Tuichun—Mutsun(?); Saclan; Suisun—Wintun; Hluimen, or Uhimen—Mutsun; Lathruunun—Yokuts.

Azpell (Assist. Surg. Thos. F.). Vocabulary of the Hoopa, and Klamath; 200 words each.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in California in 1870.


Baer (John). Vocabularies of the Yerigen (Tchuktchi), 250 words; and of the Chaklock, 100 words.

10 ll. folio. Mr. Baer accompanied the Rogers Ex. Ex. The Yerigen words were collected in Glasenep Harbor, Straits of Seniavine, west side of Behring Straits. The Chaklock words from the inhabitants of the island of Chaklock, about two miles to the southward.

Balitz (Antoine). Vocabulary of the Aleuts; 211 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in the Aleutian Islands in 1868.

Ballou (E.). Words, Phrases, and Sentences in the Shoshone Language.

162 pp. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 2 ed. Collected at the Shoshone and Bannock Agency, Wyoming Territory, 1880-1881. None of the schedules are neglected, and many are filled and additions made. Mr. Ballou has added much to the value of his manuscript by copious ethnologic notes.

Bannister (Henry M.). Vocabulary of the Malimoot, Kotzebue Sound; 200 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form.

Barnhardt (W. H.). Comparative Vocabulary of the Languages spoken by the Umpqua, Lower Rogue River, and Calapooa Indians; 160 words.

4 ll. folio.

Barnhart (—.). Vocabulary of the Kalapuya; 211 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

—— Vocabulary of the Lower Rogue River Indians; 211 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

Barker (J. C.). Vocabulary of the Indians of Santa Tomas Mission, Lower California; 150 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1876.


Bartlett (John Russell). Vocabularies of the Cahita, Opate, and Tarahumara; 200 words each.

7 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Ceris; 180 words.

6 ll. folio. Taken by Mr. Bartlett from Hermosillo, a native, January, 1852.

—— Vocabulary of the Cochimi; 180 words.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Coco Maricopa; 180 words.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Coppermine Apaches; 150 words.

6 ll. folio. Obtained by Mr. Bartlett from Mancus Colorado, a chief of the Coppermine Apaches, July, 1851.

—— Vocabulary of the Diegeno; 150 words.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Dieguina; 180 words.

6 ll. folio. These Indians resided for 20 miles along the coast in the neighborhood of San Diego.

—— Vocabulary of the Hum-mock-a-ha-vi; 180 words.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Kioway; 200 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected from Esteban, a Mexican in the service of the Mexican Boundary Commission, who had been a captain seven years among the Comanches and Kioways in Texas.

—— Vocabulary of the Piro.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected from two of the principal men of the pueblo of Sineca, a few miles below El Paso del Norte.

—— Vocabulary of the Tigua.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected from Santiago Ortiz (Ahebatu), head chief of Sineca, Isleta, &c.

—— Vocabulary of the Yaqui of Sonora.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Yuma or Cuchan; 180 words.

6 ll. folio. The above material was collected by Mr. Bartlett while on the Mexican Boundary Commission.

Belden (Lieut. George P.). Vocabulary of the Chinook Jargon.

27 ll. 12o. Alphabetically arranged.

—— Dictionary of the Snake, Crow, and Sioux, alphabetically arranged.

182 pp. 8o. Collected in 1868.

Bennett (Lieut. Col. Clarence B.). Vocabulary of the Yuma; 211 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected at Fort Yuma, 1864.

Berendt (Dr. Carl Herman). Vocabulary of the Maya; 200 words.

6 ll. folio.

—— Comparative Vocabulary of the Mexican or Nahuatl and Maya Languages.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form, with a few additions.

Berson (F.). Vocabulary of the Clear Lake Indians, California.

8 ll. sm. 4o. Collected in November, 1851. Copy of the original furnished by M. Alex. Pinart.

—— Yuki-English and English-Yuki Dictionary.

45 pp. sm. 4o Collected in 1851 from a band of Indians fifty miles south of Clear Lake, California. Copy of the original furnished by M. Alex. Pinart.

Bierstadt (Albert). Vocabulary of the Sioux.

6 pp. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected, 1863.

Bissell (George P.). Vocabulary of the Coos, or Kusa, Oregon.

46 pp. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed.

—— Vocabulary of the Umpqua.

5 ll. 4o. Collected in 1876.

Brackett (Col. A. G.). Vocabulary of the Absaraka, or Crow.

11 pp. folio. Collected at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, 1879.

Butcher (Dr. H. B.) and Leyendecher (John). Vocabulary of the Comanche Indians; 200 words.

6 ll. folio. Collected April, 1867.

Chamberlain (Montague). Words, Phrases, and Sentences in the Melicite (Malisit) Language, River St. John, New Brunswick.

In Introduction to Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed. Collected December, 1880.

Chapin (Col. G.). Vocabulary of the Sierra Blanco Apaches.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1867, Camp Goodwin, Arizona.

Cheroki. Vocabulary of the Cherokee, or Tseloge; 88 words.

3 ll. folio. Collector unknown.

Cooper (Dr. J. G.). Vocabulary of the Gros Ventres and Blackfoot.

6 pp. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected 1861.


—— Vocabulary of the Siksikhōä, or Blackfoot; 180 words.

7 pp. folio. Recorded March, 1861.

—— Vocabulary of the Tshihalish; 180 words.

6 ll. folio.

Corbusier (William H.). Vocabulary of the Apache-Mojave, or Yavape; and Apache-Yuma, or Tulkepa, with ethnopaphic notes.

54 pp. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages—nearly complete. Collected at the Rio Verde Agency, Arizona, 1873, ’74, ’75.

Corliss (Capt. A. W.). Vocabulary of the Lacotah, or Sioux, Brulè band.

50 pp. 4o. “Notes made while at Spotted Tail’s Agency of Brulè Sioux Indians on the White River, in Dakota and Nebraska, in 1874.” In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed. Copied from original manuscript loaned by Captain Corliss.

Clark (W. C.). Vocabulary of the Modoc of Southern Oregon.

12 pp. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed. Collected in 1878 at Yáneks.

Craig (R. O.). Vocabulary of the Skagit and Snohomish.

4 ll. 4o. Collected in 1858.

Cremony (John C.). Vocabulary of the Mescalero Apaches.

6 ll. folio. Obtained by Captain Cremony at Fort Sumner, Bosque Redondo, on the Pecos River, N. Mex., in 1863.

Crook (Gen. George). Vocabulary of the Hoopah of the Lower Trinity River, California; 180 words.

2 ll. 4o.

—— Vocabulary of the Tahluwah; 180 words.

3 ll. folio.

Denig (E. T.). Vocabulary of the Blackfoot, by E. T. Denig, Indian agent, Fort Union.

6 pp. folio.

Diezman (F. J.). Grammar of the Mosquito Indian Language, prepared by F. J. Diezman, of San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua.

16 ll. 4o. Prepared in 1865.

Dorsey (James Owen). Myths, Stories, and Letters in the [¢]egiha Language.

750 pp. folio. This material is in hands of the printer, and will form Part I, Vol. 6, Contributions to North American Ethnology. It comprises 70 stories and myths and 300 letters, each with interlinear translation, explanatory notes, and free translation.

—— Grammar of the [¢]egiha Language.

800 pp. folio. Will form Part 2 of Vol. 6, Contributions to North American Ethnology.

—— [¢]egiha Dictionary—[¢]egiha-English and English-[¢]egiha, alphabetically arranged; contains 20,000 words.

22,000 slips. Will form Part 3 of Vol. 6, Contributions to North American Ethnology.

—— Linguistic Material of the Iowas, Otos, and Missouris.

1,000 pp. folio. Consists of myths, stories, and letters, with interlinear translation, a dictionary of 9,000 words, and a grammar.


—— Linguistic Material of the Winnebago Language.

75 pp. folio and 2,100 slips. Consists of a letter, grammatic notes, and dictionary of 2,000 words.

—— Kansas and Omaha Words and Phrases.

5 pp. folio.

Eels (Rev. Myron). Words, Phrases, and Sentences in Chemakum.

37 ll. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed. Collected at the Skokomish Reservation, Washington Territory, 1878.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences in the S’klallam or Sclallam.

52 ll. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed., complete. Collected at the Skokomish Reservation in 1878. Includes plural forms and possessive cases of nouns and pronouns and the partial conjugation of the verb “to eat”.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences in the Skwâksin Dialect of the Niskwallî Language.

52 ll. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed., complete. Collected in 1878. Includes plural forms, possessive cases and diminutives of nouns, comparison of adjectives, cases of pronouns, and partial conjugation of the verbs “to eat” and “to drink”.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences in the Twana Language.

52 ll. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed., complete. Collected in 1878. Includes plural forms, possessive cases and gender of nouns, comparison of adjectives, possessive case of pronouns, and partial conjugation of the verbs “to eat” and “to drink”.

Eskimo. Vocabularies (60 words each) of the Asiagmut, of Norton Bay; Kuskokvims, of Norton Bay; of the Indians near Mount St. Elias; of Kadiak Island; and of the Indians of Bristol Bay.

5 ll. folio.

Euphrasia (Sister M.). Exercises in the Papago Language, by Sister M. Euphrasia, St. Xavier’s Convent, Arizona.

6 ll. folio. Twenty-seven exercises, and phrases and sentences.

Everett (William E.). Vocabulary of the Sioux, alphabetically arranged; by Will. E. Everett, Government Scout.

91 pp. folio.

Flachenecker (Rev. George). Notes on the Shyenne Language, by Rev. Geo. Flachenecker, Lutheran Missionary, Deer Creek, Nebraska, September, 1862.

7 pp. folio.

Fletcher (Robert H.). Vocabulary of the Nez Percés.

10 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1873 in Idaho.

Fuertes (E. A.). Vocabularies of the Chimalapa, or Zoque; Guichicovian, or Mixe; Zapoteco; and Maya; 200 words each.

17 ll. 4o. In parallel columns, accompanied by grammatic notes.

Gabb (Dr. William M.). Vocabularies of the Cochimi and Kiliwee; 211 words each.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected April, 1867. The Cochimi vocabulary collected in the center of the peninsula of Lower California, in the vicinity of San Borja and Santa Gertrude; the Kiliwee 150 miles farther north.

—— Vocabulary of the Klamath of Southern Oregon; 150 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1864.


—— Vocabulary of the Yuma; 186 words.

6 ll. folio. Collected in the vicinity of Fort Yuma.

—— Vocabulary of the Yuma and H’tääm.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1867.

Galbraith (F. G.). Vocabulary of the Indians of the Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico.

14 ll. folio. Collected in 1880.

Gardiner (Bishop —.). Some forms of the Chipewyan verb.

5 ll. folio.

Gardiner (W. H.). Vocabulary of the Sisseton Dakotas, by W. H. Gardiner, Assistant Surgeon, U. S. A.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1868.

Gatschet (Albert Samuel). Vocabulary of the Achomâwi, Pit River, Northeast California.

11 pp. folio. Includes dialects of Big Valley, Hot Springs, and Goose Lake.

—— Vocabulary of the Ara (Karok), Klamath River, California, from Red Caps to Clear Creek, near mouth of Scott River; 211 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

—— Cheroki Linguistic Material obtained from Richard M. Wolfe, Delegate of the Cherokee Nation to the United States Government.

5 ll. folio. Principally phrases and sentences.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences in Clackama.

In Introduction to Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed. The Clackamas belong to the Chinuk family. Material collected at Grande Ronde Reservation, Yamhill County, Oregon, December, 1877.

—— Creek or Maskoki Linguistic Material obtained from General Pleasant Porter and Mr. R. Hodge, Delegates of the Creek Nation to the United States Government, 1879-’80.

4 ll. folio. Principally phrases and sentences.

—— Káyowē Linguistic Material.

10 pp. folio. Composed principally of sentences with translation. Collected February and March, 1880, from Itáli Duⁿmoi, or “Hunting Boy”, a young pupil of the Hampton, Va., school, employed at the Smithsonian Institution, and afterwards sent to the Indian School at Carlisle, Pa.

—— Linguistic Material of the Kalapuya family, Atfálati dialect.

Pp. 1-399. sm. 4o, in five blank books. Consists of texts with interlinear translation, grammatic notes, words, phrases, and sentences.

—— List of Suffixes of the Tualati or Atfálati Dialect of the Kalapuya of Oregon.

Blank book, sm. 4o. Arranged in 1878.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences of the Atfálati or Wápatu Lake Language.

In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed.—nearly complete. Collected at Grande Ronde Agency, 1877.

—— Vocabulary of the Lúkamiute and Ahántchuyuk Dialects of the Kalapuya Family.

16 pp. 4o. In Introduction to de Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed., incomplete. Collected at Grande Ronde Indian Agency, 1877.


—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences of the Yamhill Dialect of the Kalapuya Family.

9 pp. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed., incomplete. Collected at the Grande Ronde Agency, 1877.

—— Vocabulary of the Kansas or Kaw.

12 pp. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed., incomplete.

—— Linguistic Material collected at the Chico Rancheria of the Michopdo Indians (Maidu family), Sacramento Valley, California.

84 pp. sm. 4o, blank book. Text with interlinear translation, phrases, and sentences. Collected in 1877.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences in the Mólale Language.

30 ll. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed. Collected at the Grande Ronde Agency, Oregon, in 1877.

—— Texts in the Mólale Language with Interlinear Translation.

12 ll. folio. Consists of a short description of marriage ceremonies, the “Myth of the Coyote”, and a “Raid of the Cayuse Indians”. Collected at the Grande Ronde Reserve in 1877, from Stephen Savage.

—— Vocabulary of the Mohawk.

7 ll. folio. Collected from Charles Carpenter, an Iroquois of Brantford, in 1876.

—— Vocabulary of the Nönstöki or Nestuccas Dialect of the Selish family.

10 ll. 4o. Collected in 1877 from an Indian called “Jack”, of Salmon River, Oregonian Coast. On Smithsonian form.

—— Sasti-English and English-Sasti Dictionary.

84 ll. sm. 4o. Alphabetically arranged from materials collected at Dayton, Polk County, Oregon, in November, 1877. The informants were two young men, the brothers Leonard and Willie Smith, pure blood Shasti (or Sásti) Indians, who had come from the Grande Ronde Indian Agency, a distance of 25 miles. Their old home is the Shasti Valley, near Yreka, Cal.

—— Shasti-English and English-Shasti Dictionary.

69 ll. sm. 4o. Obtained from “White Cynthia”, a Klamath woman living at Klamath Lake Reservation, Williamson River, Lake County, Oregon, in September, 1877. Dialect spoken at Crescent City, Cal.

—— Vocabulary of the Sáwăno or Shawnee.

7 pp. folio. Collected in 1879 from Bluejacket. Includes clans of the Shawnees with their totems.

—— Sháwano Linguistic Material.

24 pp. folio. Texts with interlinear translation, grammatic forms, phrases, and sentences. Collected February and March, 1880, from Charles Bluejacket, delegate of Shawano tribe to the United States Government.

—— Tonkawa-English and English-Tonkawa Dictionary.

52 pp. sm. 4o.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences in the Umpkwa Language.

22 ll. 4o. In Introduction to Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed. Collected at Grande Ronde Agency, 1877.

—— Vocabulary of the Warm Spring Indians, Des Chutes, Oreg.; 200 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1875.


—— Vocabulary of the Wasco and Waccanéssisi Dialects of the Chinuk Family.

7 pp. folio. Taken at the Klamath Lake Agency, Oregon, 1877.

—— Vocabulary of the Zuñian Language, with grammatic remarks.

10 ll. folio. Obtained from a Zuñi boy about 10 years old, who was attending the Indian school at Carlisle, Pa., in 1880.

Geisdorff (Dr. Francis). Vocabulary of the Mountain Crows.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form.

Gibbs (George). Account of Indian Tribes upon the Northwest Coast of America.

10 ll. folio.

—— Comparisons of the Languages of the Indians of the Northwest.

23 ll. 8o and folio.

—— Miscellaneous Notes on the Eskimo, Kenai, and Atna Languages.

25 ll. 4o in folio.

—— Notes on the Language of the Selish Tribes.

10 ll. folio.

—— Notes to the Vocabularies of the Klamath Languages.

7 ll. folio.

—— Indian Nomenclature of Localities, Washington and Oregon Territories.

7 ll. folio.

—— Observations on the Indians of the Klamath River and Humboldt Bay, accompanying Vocabularies of their Languages.

25 ll. folio.

—— Principles of Algonquin Grammar.

5 pp. 4o.

—— Vocabulary of the Chemakum and Mooksahk; 180 words.

3 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Chikasaw; 200 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1866.

—— Vocabulary of the Clallam; 180 words.

3 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Cowlitz; 200 words.

10 ll. 4o.

—— Vocabulary of the Creek; 200 words.

10 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1866.

—— Vocabulary of the Eskimo of Davis Strait; 211 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

—— Vocabulary of the Hitchittie, or Mikasuki; 200 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1866.

—— Vocabulary of the Hoopah; 180 words.

4 ll. folio. Collected at the mouth of the Trinity River, in 1852.

—— Vocabulary of the Indians of the Pueblo of Ysletta.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1868.

—— Vocabulary of the Klikatat; 150 words.

6 ll. folio. Obtained from Yahtowet, a subchief, in 1854.

—— Vocabulary of the Kwantlen of Fraser’s River; 180 words.

5 ll. folio. Collected in 1858.


—— Vocabulary of the Makah; 200 words.

4 ll. 4o.

—— Vocabulary of the Makah; 180 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

—— Vocabulary of the Molele, Santiam Band.

3 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Toanhootch of Port Gambol; 180 words.

3 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Willopah Dialect of the Tahcully, Athapasca; 100 words.

6 ll. folio.

—— Observations on the Indians of the Colorado River, California, accompanying Vocabularies of the Yuma and Mohave Tribes.

7 pp. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Mohave; 180 words.

6 ll. folio. Obtained from a chief, Iritaba, in New York, 1863.

—— Vocabulary of the Sawanwan; 211 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form.

—— Vocabulary of the Yamhill Dialect of the Kalapuya; 211 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

Grossman (Capt. F. E.). Some Words of the Languages of the Pimo and Papago Indians of Arizona Territory.

80 pp. 4o. English-Pimo and Pimo-English, alphabetically arranged. Accompanied by a few grammatic notes and three stories with interlinear English translation. Collected at the Gila River Reservation during 1871.

Gilbert (Grove Karl). Vocabulary of the Wallapai; 411 words.

23 ll. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed. Collected in 1878.

Hale (Horatio). Vocabulary of the Tutelo, with remarks on the same.

30 pp. 4o.

Hamilton (A. S.). Vocabulary of the Haynarger Dialect of the Tahcully, Athapasca; 180 words.

5 ll. folio.

Hamilton (S. M.). Chippewa Vocabulary; 180 words.

20 pp. folio.

Hamilton (Rev. William). Vocabulary of the Iowa and Omaha; 112 words.

12 ll. oblong folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Omaha, alphabetically arranged.

33 ll. 4o.

Hazen (Gen. W. B.). Vocabulary of the Takilma; 211 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

—— Vocabularies of the Upper Rogue River Languages—Applegate (Umpkwa), Takilma, and Shasta; 180 words each.

3 ll. folio.

Heintzelman (Gen. —.). Vocabulary of the Cocopa; 100 words.

6 ll. folio. Copy of a MS. furnished Hon. John P. Bartlett by General Heintzelman.

—— Vocabulary of the Hum-mock-a-ha-vi; 180 words.

6 ll. folio. Copy of a MS. furnished Hon. John P. Bartlett by General Heintzelman.


Helmsing (J. S.). Vocabulary of the M’mat of Southwest Arizona and Southeast California; 211 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form.

Henderson (Alexander). Grammar and Dictionary of the Karif Language of Honduras (from Belize to Little Rock). Belize, 1872.

Pp. 1-340. 12o in eight blank books.

Higgins (N. S.). Notes on the Apaches of Arizona.

30 pp. folio. Includes a vocabulary of 200 words, names of tribes, etc.

Husband (Bruce). Vocabulary of the Sioux.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected at Fort Laramie, 1849.

Jones (J. B.). Vocabulary of the Cherokee; mountain dialect; 200 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1866.

Jordan (Capt. Thomas). Vocabulary of the Cayuse; 180 words.

3 ll. folio.

Kantz (August V.). Vocabulary of the Indians of the Pueblo of Isleta, N. Mex.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1869.

—— Vocabulary of the Too-too-ten; 180 words.

6 ll. folio.

Kirk (Charles W.). Hymns in the Wyandot Language.

24 ll. 4o.

Kenicott (Robert). Vocabulary of the Chipewyan of Slave Lake.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Hare Indians, of Fort Good Hope, Mackenzie River.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Nahawny Indians of the Mountains west of Fort Liard.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Tsuhtyuh (Beaver People)—Beaver Indians of Peace River west of Lake Athabasca; and of the Thekenneh (People of the Rocks) Siccanies of the Mountains, south of Fort Liard.

6 ll. folio.

Kent (—.). List of names of Iowa Indians, with English translation.

8 pp. folio. Accompanied by a similar list revised by Rev. William Hamilton. 7 pp. folio.

Keres. Vocabulary of the Keres; 175 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collector unknown.

Knipe (C.). Nootka or Tahkahh Vocabulary; 250 words.

7 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

Leyendecher (John Z.). See Butcher (Dr. H. B.) and Leyendecher (John Z.).

MacGowan (Dr. D. J.). Vocabulary of the Caddo, with Linguistic notes.

8 pp. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Comanches; 200 words.

6 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1865.

McBeth (S. L.). Vocabulary of the Nez Percé; 211 words.

7 ll. folio.


—— Grammar of the Nez Percé Language.

66 ll. folio.

McDonald (Angus). Vocabulary of the Kootenay; 200 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

McElroy (Patrick D.). Vocabulary of the Jicarilla Apache; 275 words.

15 ll. 4o. Compiled at Cimarron, Colfax County, N. Mex., in 1875.

Mahan (I. L.). Words, Phrases, and Sentences in Odjibwe.

Pp. 8-102. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed.—nearly complete. Collected at Bayfield, Wis., in 1879. Mr. Mahan is the Indian agent at Red Cliff Reserve, Wis.

Meulen (Lieut. E. de). Vocabulary of the Kenay of Cook’s Inlet.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1870.

Milhau (Dr. John J.). Vocabulary of the Anasitch (Coos Bay, No. 1); 211 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

—— Vocabulary of Coos Bay, No. 2; 211 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

—— Vocabulary of the Coast Indians living on the streams emptying between Umpqua Head and Cape Perpetua, Oregon, and on the Umpqua River for twenty miles above the mouth.

3 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Hewut, Upper Umpqua, Umpqua Valley, Oregon. 180 words.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Umpqua, Umpqua Valley, Oregon; 180 words.

3 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Yakona; 180 words.

3 ll. folio. Language of the Coast Indians lying between Cape Perpetua and Cape Foulweather, and up the Alseya and Yakona Rivers.

Mowry (Lieut. Sylvester). Vocabulary of the Diegano; 175 words.

6 ll. folio. Taken from the interpreter at Fort Yuma—an intelligent Diegano who spoke Spanish fluently.

—— Vocabulary of the Mohave; 180 words.

6 ll. folio. Collected from Miss Olive Oatman, who was for years a prisoner among these Indians.

Muskoki. Hymn: What a Friend we have in Jesus.

1 sheet folio. Translator unknown.

—— Vocabularies of the Creek and Cherokee; 211 words in parallel columns.

10 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1867. Collector unknown.

Nichols (A. Sidney). Vocabulary of the Navajo.

10 ll. folio. Collected in 1868.

Noosoluph. Vocabularies of the Noosoluph, or Upper Chihalis, and Kwinaiutl.

11 pp. 4o. Collector unknown.

Ober (Frederick A.). Vocabulary of the Carib; Islands of Dominica and St. Vincent; 211 words.

10 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

Packard (Robert L.). Terms of relationship used by the Navajo Indians.

4 ll. folio. Collected at the Navajo Reservation, New Mexico, in 1881.


Palmer (Dr. Edward). Vocabulary of the Indians of the Pueblo of Taowa; 40 words.

2 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Pinaleño and Arivaipa Apache; 200 words.

3 ll. 4o.

Parry (Dr.). Vocabulary of the Pima Indians; 150 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Forwarded by Maj. W. H. Emory, 1852.

Pâni. Vocabulary of the Hueco or Waco; 50 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collector unknown.

—— Vocabulary of the Kichai; 30 words.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collector unknown.

Pike (Gen. Albert). Verbal forms in the Muscoki Language.

20 ll. folio. Seven verbs run through various tenses and modes.

—— Verbal forms of the Muscoki and Hichitathli.

27 ll. folio.

—— Vocabularies of the Creek or Muscogee, Uchee, Hitchita, Natchez, Co-os-au-da or Co-as-sat-te, Alabama, and Shawnee.

56 ll. folio. These vocabularies are arranged in parallel columns for comparative purposes, and contain from 1,500 to 1,700 words each. The manuscript was submitted to Mr. J. H. Trumbull, of Hartford, Conn., for examination, and was by him copied on slips, each containing one English word and its equivalent in the dialects given above, spaces being reserved for other dialects. They were then sent to Mrs. A. E. W. Robertson, of Tullahassee, Ind. T., who inserted the Chickasaw. These cards are also in the possession of the Bureau of Ethnology.

—— Vocabulary of the Osage; 200 words.

11 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Toncawe; 175 words.

10 ll. 4o.

Pilling (James C.). Words and Phrases in the Wundát or Wyandot Language.

36 ll. folio. In Introduction to Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed., incomplete. Collected from John Grayeyes, a Wyandot Chief, 1880.

Pope (Maj. F. L.). Vocabulary of Words from the Siccany Language.

14 pp. 4o. “The tribe known as the Sicannies inhabit the tract of country lying to the northwest of Lake Tatla, in British Columbia, and their language is nearly the same as that spoken by the Connenaghs, or Nahonies, of the Upper Stikine.”

Poston (Charles D.). Vocabulary of the Pima Indians of Arizona; 180 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form.

Powell (John Wesley). Conjugation of Ute Verbs.

438 ll. 4o.

—— Miscellaneous Linguistic Notes on the Utes and Pai-Utes of Colorado and Utah.

120 ll. 4o.

—— Notes on the Shinumo Language.

44 pp. 4o. Collected at Oraibi, N. Mex., in 1870.

—— Notes on the Songs, Mythology, and Language of the Pai-Utes, 1871-’72.

194 pp. folio.


—— Ute Vocabulary.

11 ll. 4o. Contains also a brief list of duals and plurals of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and verbs.

—— Vocabulary of the Gosi-Ute.

71 ll. 4o. Collected from an Indian named Seguits, from Skull Valley, Nev., 1873.

—— Vocabulary of the Hu-muk-a-há-va (Mojaves); 55 words.

4 ll. 4o. Collected in Las Vegas Valley, Nev., October, 1873.

—— Vocabulary of the Indians of Las Vegas, Nev.

93 ll. 4o. Contains conjugation of the verbs “to strike” and “to eat.”

—— Vocabulary of the Navajo.

8 ll. folio. Collected in 1870 at Fort Defiance.

—— Vocabulary of the Noje.

10 ll. 4o. Collected in 1881.

—— Vocabulary of the Pavants of Utah.

17 ll. 4o. Obtained from Kanosh, a chief of the Pavants, in 1873.

—— Vocabulary of the Paviotso.

61 ll. 4o. Collected from Naches, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1873.

—— Vocabulary of the Paviotso.

77 ll. 4o. Collected in Humboldt Valley, Nevada, 1880.

—— Vocabulary of the Paviotso, Western Nevada.

25 pp. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 2d ed., incomplete. Collected in 1880.

—— Vocabulary of the Shoshoni of Nevada.

9 ll. 4o.

—— Vocabulary of the Shoshoni of Western Nevada.

37 ll. 4o and folio. Collected in 1880.

—— Vocabulary of the Tabuat Utes, Grand River, Colorado.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1868.

—— Vocabulary of the Tantawaits (Shimawiva).

18 ll. 4o. Obtained from an Indian at Las Vegas, Nev., 1873.

—— Vocabulary of the Tosauwihi—Shoshoni of Eastern Nevada.

56 ll. 4o. Collected from an Indian called Captain Johnson, in 1873.

—— Vocabulary of the Uchi; 50 words.

2 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Ute Indians of Utah.

16 ll. 4o. Obtained of an Indian named Pompuwar, in 1873.

—— Vocabulary of the Utes of Weber River, Utah.

23 pp. 8o and 4o. Collected in 1877.

—— Vocabulary of the Utes of the White and Uinta Rivers, Utah.

62 ll. 4o.

—— Vocabulary of the Wintu´n.

40 ll. 4o. Collected in 1880.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences in the Kaivavwit Dialect of the Shoshoni Language.

103 ll. 4o. Obtained from a band of Indians living on Kaibab Creek, Southern Utah.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences of the Ute Indians of Utah Territory.

487 ll. 4o.


—— Vocabulary of the Kootenay; 185 words.

2 ll. folio. Mr. Powell is Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Canada.

Powers (Stephen). Vocabulary of the Modoc; 31 words.

1 sheet folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Tolowa; 10 words.

1 l. folio.

—— Vocabularies of the Wailakki and Hupâ Languages; 211 words each.

6 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

—— Vocabulary of the Washo; 211 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected at Carson City, Nev., 1876.

Preston (Capt. William). Vocabulary of the Delewes.

1 p. folio. This and the three following vocabularies were taken in 1796 by Capt. William Preston, Fourth United States Regulars, and found in a memorandum book originally belonging to him, but now in the possession of his grandson, Prof. William P. Johnson, of the Washington and Lee University.

—— Vocabulary of the Potawatomy; 50 words.

1 p. folio.

—— Words and Sentences in Miami.

6 pp. folio.

—— Words, Phrases, and Sentences in Shawannee.

7 pp. folio.

Renshawe (John Henry). Vocabulary of the Hualapi.

21 ll. 4o. In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed. Collected in 1878 on the Colorado Plateau, Arizona.

Ridgway (Robert). Vocabulary of the Washo; 75 words.

5 ll. folio. Collected at Carson City, Nev.

Riggs (Rev. Alfred Longley). Language of the Dakotas and cognate tribes; by Alfred L. Riggs, A.B., B.D., Missionary of the American Board.

24 ll. 8o.

Riggs (Rev. Stephen Return). Comparative Vocabulary of the Dakota, Winnebago, Omaha, and Ponka.

9 ll. folio. Includes a few grammatic forms.

—— Dictionary of the Santee Dakota—Dakota-English and English-Dakota.

820 pp. folio. This material is in the hands of the printer, and will form Part 2 of Vol. 7, Contributions to North American Ethnology. Part 1 will consist of myths and stories with interlinear translation, and a Grammar of this dialect. It is in an advanced stage of preparation.

Robertson (Mrs. Ann Eliza Worcester). Vocabulary of the Chickasaw.

On slips. See Pike (Gen. Albert).

Roehrig (F. L. O.) Comparative Vocabulary of the Selish Languages.

50 pp. folio. Includes words in Selish proper, or Flathead; Kalispelm; Spokan; Skoyelpi; Okinaken; S’chitsui; Shiwapmuth; Piskwaus.

—— Comparative Vocabulary of the Selish Languages, second series.

42 ll. 4o. Includes words of the following dialects: Clallam, Lummi, Nooksahk, Nanaimook, Kwantlen, and Tait.

Ross (R. B.). Vocabulary of a Dialect of the Tinnean Language.

6 ll. folio.


—— Vocabulary of the Chipewyan.

6 ll. folio.

—— Vocabulary of the Natsit Kutchin (Strong Men).

6 ll. folio. Procured from an Indian who had been several years in the Hudson Bay Company’s service.

—— Vocabulary of the Nehaunay of Nehaunay River.

6 ll. folio. Collected from a member of one of the tribes residing in the mountainous country between the Liard and Mackenzie Rivers.

—— Vocabulary of the Kutcha Kutchin, Yukon River.

6 ll. folio. Procured from Mr. Hardesty, who had resided among these Indians for about ten years.

—— Vocabulary of the Sikani.

6 ll. folio.

Semple (J. E.). Vocabulary of the Clatsop Language; 35 words.

1 l. 4o. Collected in 1870, near Fort Stevens, Oregon.

Sherwood (Lieut. W. L.). Vocabulary of the Sierra Blanco and Coyotero Apaches, with notes.

7 ll. folio.

Shortess (Robert). Vocabulary of the Chinook.

5 pp. folio.

Smart (Capt. Charles). Vocabulary of the Coyotero Apaches, with notes.

8 ll. folio. Collected in 1866 at Fort McDowell, Arizona.

Smith (E. Everett). Vocabulary of the Malemute, Kotzebue Sound; 190 words.

10 pp. 4o. On Smithsonian form.

Stubbs (A. W.). Vocabulary of the Kansas or Kaw.

In Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages, 1st ed.—not complete.

Sutter (Emil V.). Maidu Vocabulary; 60 words.

2 ll. folio. Collected from the Indians of Feather and Yuba Rivers.

Swan (James G.). A Criticism on the Linguistic Portion of Vol. I, Contributions to North American Ethnology.

4 ll. folio.

—— A Vocabulary of the Language of the Haida Indians of Prince of Wales Archipelago.

19 pp. 8o.

—— Vocabulary of the Makah.

21 ll. folio. Alphabetically arranged.

—— Vocabulary of the Makah.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form.

Tassin (Lieut. A. G.). Vocabulary of the Arrapaho; 60 words.

1 l. folio.

Thomas (Gen. George H.). Vocabulary of the Navajo and Yuma Languages.

8 ll. 4o. 35 Navajo words; 100 of the Yuma.

Thompson (Almond Harris). Vocabulary of the Navajo.

5 ll. 12o and 8 ll. 4o.

Tinnéan. Vocabulary of the Hong Kutchin.

4 ll. folio. Collector unknown.

Tolmie (Dr. William F.). Vocabulary of the Cootonais or Cuttoonasha; 75 words.

1 l. folio.


Tolmie (Dr. William F.). Vocabulary of the Kootnay; 165 words.

3 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form.

—— Vocabulary of the Tahko Tinneh; 60 words.

1 l. folio.

Vetromile (Rev. Eugene). A Dictionary of the Abnaki Language—English-Abnaki and Abnaki-English.

3 vols. folio. Material collected by Father Vetromile while missionary among the Abnakis during the years 1855 to 1873. Volume 1, pp. 1-573 contains prefatory remarks, description of the alphabet used, synopsis of the Abnaki language, including brief grammatic remarks, a table of abbreviations, and the Abnaki-English dictionary from A to H, inclusive. Volume 2, pp. 3-595, contains further remarks on the grammar, and a continuation of the Abnaki-English dictionary, I to Z, inclusive. The dictionary in each of these volumes is divided into four columns; the first containing words from the Abnaki dictionary of the Rev. Father Rasles; the second, words in the Penobscot; the third, Mareschit; and the fourth, Micmac. Volume 3, pp., 1-791, contains the Abnaki-English dictionary, A to Z, and includes words in the Penobscot, Etchimin, Mareschit, Micmac, Montagnie, and Passamaquoddy dialects.

Wabass (—.). Vocabularies of the Chinook and Cowlitz Languages.

1 l. folio. Collected in 1858.

White (Ammi M.). Vocabulary of the Pima and Papago Indians; 200 words.

10 ll. 4o. On Smithsonian form. Collected at the Pima and Maricopa Agency, Arizona, 1864.

White (Dr. John B.). Classified List of the Prepositions, Pronouns, &c., of the Apache Language.

2 ll. 4o.

—— Degrees of Relationship in the Language of the Apache.

2 ll. 4o.

—— Names of the different Indian Tribes in Arizona, and the Names by which they are called by the Apaches.

5 ll. 4o.

—— Remarks on the General Relations of the Apache Language.

7 ll. 4o.

—— Sentences in Apache, with a classification of men, women, and children with the Apache names.

15 pp. 12o. Collected in 1873 at the Apache Reservation in Arizona.

—— Vocabulary of the Apache and Tonto Languages.

110 pp. 12o. Collected at San Carlos Reservation in 1873, ’74, ’75.

—— Sentences in the Tonto Language.

5 pp. 4o.

Willard (Celeste N.). Vocabulary of the Navajo.

10 ll. folio. Collected in 1869.

Williamson (Rev. Thomas S.). Comparative Vocabulary of the Winnebago, Omaha, Ponka, and Dakota, with remarks on the same.

38 pp. 4o.

Wowodsky (Gov. —.). Vocabulary of the Keni of Cook’s Inlet Bay.

2 ll. folio.

Wright (Rev. Allen). Vocabulary of the Chahta or Choctaw; 211 words.

10 ll. folio. On Smithsonian form. Collected in 1866.









In the printed text, lines were numbered in multiples of three for use with the Notes. The numbers have been retained for completeness.

The following special characters appear primarily in this article:

χ (Greek chi)

ŋ (eng, here equivalent to small raised n)

Ś ś ć ź (s, c, z with "acute")

ć̣ (c with "acute" and under-dot)

Ḵ ḵ ḳ (k with underline, under-dot)

ġ ḣ (g, h with dot over)


How the rabbit caught the sun in a trap, by J. O. Dorsey

Page 581

Details of a conjurer’s practice, by A. S. Gatschet

The relapse, by A. S. Gatschet 585
Sweat-Lodges, by A. S. Gatschet 586
A dog’s revenge, by S. R. Riggs 587




An Omaha Myth, obtained from F. LaFlèche by J. Owen Dorsey.

Egi¢e mactciñ´ge aká iʞaⁿ´ ¢iñké ená-qtci
It came to pass rabbit the sub. his grandmother the st. ob. only
ʇig¢e júgig¢á-biamá.
dwelt with his own, they say.
haⁿ´egaⁿtcĕ´- qtci-hnaⁿ´ ‘ábae ahí-biamá.
And morning very habitually hunting went thither they say.
Haⁿegaⁿtcĕ´- qtci a¢á-bi ctĕwaⁿ´ níkaciⁿga wiⁿ´
morning very went, they say notwithstanding person one
snedĕ´- qti- hnaⁿ síg¢e a¢á-bitéamá. íbahaⁿ 3
foot long very as a rule trail had gone, they say. And to know him  
wished they say.
Níaciⁿga ¢iⁿ´ ĭⁿ´taⁿ wítaⁿ¢iⁿ b¢é miñke, e¢égaⁿ-biamá.
Person the mv. ob. now I-first I go will I who, thought they say.
Haⁿ´egaⁿcĕ´- qtci páhaⁿ-bi egaⁿ´ a¢á-biamá.
Morning very arose they say having went they say.
égi¢e níkaciⁿga amá síg¢e a¢á-bitéamá.
Again it happened person the mv. sub. trail had gone, they say.
Égi¢e akí-biamá.
It came to pass he reached home,
they say.
Gá-biamá: ʞaⁿhá, wítaⁿ¢iⁿ b¢é 6 aʞídaxe ctĕwaⁿ´
Said as follows,
they say:
grandmother, I—first I go   I make for myself in spite of it
níkaciⁿga wíⁿ´¢e aⁿ´aqai a¢aí te aⁿ´.
person one getting ahead of me he has gone.
[K]aⁿhá, uʞíaⁿ¢e dáxe minke, b¢íze
Grandmother snare I make it will I who, and I take him
miñke hă.
will I who .
Átaⁿ jaⁿ´ tadaⁿ´, á-biamá wa‘újiñga aka.
Why you do it should? said, they say old woman the sub.
Níaciⁿga i¢át´ab¢é hă, á-biamá.
Person I hate him . said, they say.
mactciñ´ge a¢á-biamá. 9
And rabbit went they say.  
A¢á-bi ʞĭ síg¢e ¢étéamá.
Went they say when again trail had gone.
[K]ĭ haⁿ´ i¢ápe jaⁿ´-biamá.
And night the waiting for lay they say.
Man´dĕ-ʞaⁿ ¢aⁿ ukínacke gaxá-biamá, síg¢e
bow string the ob. noose he made it they say, and trail
¢é-hnaⁿ ĕ´di i¢aⁿ´¢a-biamá.
went habitually the there he put it they say.
Égi¢e haⁿ´+egaⁿ-tcĕ´- qtci uʞíaⁿ¢e ¢aⁿ giʇaⁿ´be
It came to pass morning very snare the ob. to see his own
arrived they say.
Égi¢e 12 miⁿ´ ¢aⁿ ¢izé akáma.
It came to pass   sun the cv. ob. taken he had, they say.
Taⁿ´¢iⁿ-qtciⁿ u¢á ag¢á-biamá.
Running very to tell went homeward,
they say.
[K]aⁿhá ĭndádaⁿ éiⁿte b¢íze édegaⁿ aⁿ´baaze-hnaⁿ´ hă,
Grandmother, what it may be I took but me it scared habitually .
said they say.
[K]aⁿhá, man´de-ʞaⁿ ¢aⁿ ag¢íze kaⁿbdédegaⁿ
Grandmother, bow string the ob. I took my own I wished, but
aⁿ´baaze- hnaⁿ´i hă, á-biamá.
me it scared habitually . said they say.
Máhiⁿ a¢iⁿ´-bi egaⁿ´ 15 ĕ´di a¢á-biamá.
Knife had they say having   there went, they say.
ecaⁿ´- qtci ahí-biamá. Píäjĭ ckáxe. Eátaⁿ égaⁿ ckáxe ă.
And near very arrived they say. Bad you did. Why so you did ?
Ĕ´di gí-adaⁿ´ iⁿ¢ická-gă hă, á-biamá miⁿ´ aká.
Hither come and for me untie it , said, they say sun the sub.
Mactciñ´ge aká ĕ´di a¢á-bi ctĕwaⁿ´ naⁿ´pa-bi
Rabbit the sub. there went they say notwithstanding feared they say
egaⁿ´ hébe íhe a¢é-hnaⁿ´- biamá.
having partly passed by went habitually they say.
3 ʞu‘ĕ´ a¢á-bi egaⁿ´ mása-biamá
And   rushed went they say having cut with a knife they say
man´dĕ-ʞaⁿ ¢aⁿ´.
bow string the ob.
Gañ´ki miⁿ´ ¢aⁿ maⁿ´-ciáha áiá¢a-biamá.
And sun the cv. ob. on high had gone, they say.
mactciñ´ge aká ábáʞu hiⁿ´ ¢aⁿ názi- biamá
And Rabbit the sub. space bet.
the shoulders
hair the ob. burnt
they say
ánakadá- bi egaⁿ´.
it was hot on it, they say having.
(Mactciñ´ge amá akí- biamá.)
(Rabbit the mv. sub. reached
they say.)
Ĭtcitci+, ʞaⁿhá, 6 ná¢iñgĕ-qti-maⁿ´ hă, á-biamá.
Itcitci+!! grandmother,   burnt to nothing very I am . said, they say.
[T]úcpa¢aⁿ+, iⁿ´na¢iñgĕ´- qti-maⁿ´ eskaⁿ´+, á-biamá.
Grandchild!! burnt to nothing for me very I am I think, said, they say.
So far.


581, 1. Mactciñge, the Rabbit, or Si¢e-makaⁿ (meaning uncertain), is the hero of numerous myths of several tribes. He is the deliverer of mankind from different tyrants. One of his opponents is Ictinike, the maker of this world, according to the Iowas. The Rabbit’s grandmother is Mother Earth, who calls mankind her children.

581, 7. a¢ai te aⁿ. The conclusion of this sentence seems odd to the collector, but its translation given with this myth is that furnished by the Indian informant.

581, 12. haⁿ+egaⁿtcĕ-qtci, “ve—ry early in the morning.” The prolongation of the first syllable adds to the force of the adverb “qtci,” very.

582, 3. hebe ihe a¢e-hnaⁿ-biama. The Rabbit tried to obey the Sun; but each time that he attempted it, he was so much afraid of him that he passed by a little to one side. He could not go directly to him.

582, 4. 5. maⁿciaha aia¢a-biama. When the Rabbit rushed forward with bowed head, and cut the bow-string, the Sun’s departure was so rapid that “he had already gone on high.”

cv. curvilinear.
mv. moving.
st. sitting.
sub.  subject.
ob. object.


Once upon a time the Rabbit dwelt in a lodge with no one but his grandmother. And it was his custom to go hunting very early in the morning. No matter how early in the morning he went, a person with 583 very long feet had been along, leaving a trail. And he (the Rabbit), wished to know him. “Now,” thought he, “I will go in advance of the person.” Having arisen very early in the morning, he departed. Again it happened that the person had been along, leaving a trail. Then he (the Rabbit) went home. Said he, “Grandmother, though I arrange for myself to go first, a person anticipates me (every time). Grandmother, I will make a snare and catch him.” “Why should you do it?” said she. “I hate the person,” he said. And the Rabbit departed. When he went, the foot-prints had been along again. And he lay waiting for night (to come). And he made a noose of a bow-string, putting it in the place where the foot-prints used to be seen. And he reached there very early in the morning for the purpose of looking at his trap. And it happened that he had caught the Sun. Running very fast, he went homeward to tell it. “Grandmother, I have caught something or other, but it scares me. Grandmother, I wished to take my bow-string, but I was scared every time,” said he. He went thither with a knife. And he got very near it. “You have done wrong; why have you done so? Come hither and untie me,” said the Sun. The Rabbit, although he went thither, was afraid, and kept on passing partly by him (or, continued going by a little to one side). And making a rush, with his head bent down (and his arm stretched out), he cut the bow-string with the knife. And the Sun had already gone on high. And the Rabbit had the hair between his shoulders scorched yellow, it having been hot upon him (as he stooped to cut the bow-string). (And the Rabbit arrived at home.) “Itcitci+!! O grandmother, the heat has left nothing of me,” said he. She said, “Oh! my grandchild! I think that the heat has left nothing of him for me.” (From that time the rabbit has had a singed spot on his back, between the shoulders.)


In the Klamath Lake Dialect. Obtained from Minnie Froben, by A. S. Gatschet.

Máḵlaks shuákiuk kíuksash ḵá-i gû´l’hi húnkĕlam ládshashtat,
Indians in calling the conjurer not enter his into lodge,
ndéna sha’hmóknok; kíuksh toks wán kiukáyank
they halloo to call (him) out; the conjurer red fox hanging out on a pole
mû´luash m’na kaníta pî´sh.
as sign his outside “of him.”
Kukíaks tchû´tanish gátp’nank wigáta tchélχa mā´shipksh. 3
Conjurers when treating approaching close by sit down the patient.  
Lútatkish wigáta kíukshĕsh tcha’hlánshna.
The expounder close to the conjurer sits down.
Shuyéga kíuks, wéwanuish tchīk winóta
Starts choruses the conjurer, females then join in singing
liukiámnank nadshā´shak tchûtchtníshash.
crowding around him simultaneously while he treats (the sick).
Hánshna mā´shish hû´nk hishuákshash, tátktish î´shkuk,
He sucks diseased that man, the disease to extract,
hantchípka tchī´k kukuága, wishinkága, mû´lkaga,
he sucks out then a small frog, small snake, small insect,
ḵáḵo gî´ntak, káhaktok nánuktua nshendshkáne.
bone afterwards, whatsoever anything small.
Ts’û´ks toks ké-usht tchékĕle ítkal; lúlp toks mā´shisht 3
A leg being fractured the (bad) blood he extracts; eyes but being sore  
tchékĕlitat lgû´m shû´kĕlank ḵî´tua lû´lpat,
into blood coal mixing he pours into the eyes,
kû´tash tchish kshéwa lúlpat pû´klash
a louse too introduces into the eye the white of eye
tuiχámpgatk ltúiχaktgi gíug.
protruding for eating out.


583, 1. shuákia does not mean to “call on somebody” generally, but only “to call on the conjurer or medicine man”.

583, 2. wán stands for wánam nī´l: the fur or skin of a red or silver fox; kaníta pî´sh stands for kanítana látchash m’nálam: “outside of his lodge or cabin”. The meaning of the sentence is: they raise their voices to call him out. Conjurers are in the habit of fastening a fox-skin outside of their lodges, as a business sign, and to let it dangle from a rod stuck out in an oblique direction.

583, 3. tchélχa. During the treatment of a patient, who stays in a winter house, the lodge is often shut up at the top, and the people sit in a circle inside in utter darkness.

583, 5. liukiámnank. The women and all who take a part in the chorus usually sit in a circle around the conjurer and his assistant; the suffix -mna indicates close proximity. Nadshā´shak qualifies the verb winóta.

583, 5. tchûtchtníshash. The distributive form of tchû´t’na refers to each of the various manipulations performed by the conjurer on the patient.

584, 1. mā´shish, shortened from māshípkash, mā´shipksh, like ḵ’lä´ksh from k’läkápkash.

584, 2. 3. There is a stylistic incongruity in using the distributive form, only in kukuàga (kúe, frog), káhaktok, and in nshendshkáne (nshekáni, npshékani, tsékani, tchékĕni, small), while inserting the absolute form in wishinkága (wíshink, garter-snake) and in ḵáḵo; mû´lkaga is more of a generic term and its distributive form is therefore not in use.

584, 2. káhaktok for ká-akt ak; ká-akt being the transposed distributive form kákat, of kát, which, what (pron. relat.).

584, 4. lgû´m. The application of remedial drugs is very unfrequent in this tribe; and this is one of the reasons why the term “conjurer” or “shaman” will prove to be a better name for the medicine man than that of “Indian doctor”.

584, 4. kû´tash etc. The conjurer introduces a louse into the eye to make it eat up the protruding white portion of the sore eye.



In the Klamath Lake Dialect by Dave Hill. Obtained by A. S. Gatschet.

náyäns hissuáksas mā´shitk kálak, tsúi kíuks
When another man fell sick as relapsed, then the conjurer
nä´-ulakta tchutánuapkuk.
concludes to treat (him).
Tchúi tchúta; tchúi yá-uks huk shläá kálak a gēk.
And he treats; and remedy this finds out (that) relapsed he.
Tchí huk shuî´sh sápa.
Thus the song-remedy indicates.
Tsúi nā´sh shuī´sh sáyuaks hû´mtcha kálak,
And one song-remedy having found out (that) of the kind of
relapsed (he is),
tchúi 3 nánuk hûk shuī´sh tpä´wa hû´nksht
then   all those remedies indicate (that) him
kaltchitchíkshash heshuampĕlítki gíug.
the spider (-remedy) would cure.
Tchúi hû´k káltchitchiks yá-uka; ubá-us hûk
Then the spider treats him; a piece of deer-skin  
káltchitchiksam tchutĕnō´tkish.
of the spider (is) the curing-tool.
Tsúi húkantka ubá-ustka tchutá; tätáktak
Then by means of that deer-skin he treats (him); just the size of the spot
huk 6 kálak mā´sha, gä´tak ubá-ush ktû´shka
that   relapse is infected, so much of deer-skin he cuts out
tä´tak huk mā´sha.
as where he is suffering.
Tsúi hûk káltchitchiks siunóta nä´dsḵank hû´nk ubá-osh.
Then   the “spider” song is started while applying that skin piece.
Tchû´yuk p’laíta nétatka skútash, tsúi sha hû´nk udû´pka
And he over it he stretches a blanket, and they it strike
hänä´shishtka, tsúi hû´k 9 gutä´ga tsulä´kshtat;
with conjurer´s arrows, then it   enters into the body;
gä´tsa lû´pí kiatéga, tsúi tsulē´ks ḵ’läká,
a particle firstly enters, then (it) body becomes,
tchúi at pushpúshuk shlē´sh hûk ubá-ush.
and now dark it to look at that skin-piece.
Tsúi mā´ns tánkĕni ak waítash hû´k pûshpúshli at
Then after a while after so and so many days that black (thing)
mā´ns=gîtk tsulä´ks=sitk shlä´sh.
at last (is) flesh-like to look at.
Tsí sáyuakta; 12 túmi hû´nk sháyuakta
Thus I am informed;   many men know
hû´masht=gîsht tchutī´sht; tsúyuk tsúshni wä´mpĕle.
(that) in this manner were effected cures; and he then always was well again.


585, 1. náyäns hissuáksas: another man than the conjurers of the tribe. The objective case shows that mā´shitk has to be regarded here as the participle of an impersonal verb: mā´sha nûsh, and mā´sha nû, it ails me, I am sick.

585, 2. yá-uks is remedy in general, spiritual as well as material. Here a tamánuash song is meant by it, which, when sung by the conjurer, will furnish him the certainty if his patient is a relapse or not. There are several of these medicine-songs, but all of them (nánuk hû´k shuī´sh) when consulted point out the spider-medicine as the one to apply in this case. The spider’s curing-instrument is that small piece of buckskin (ubá-ush) which has to be inserted under the patient’s skin. It is called the spider’s medicine because the spider-song is sung during its application.


585, 10. gutä´ga. The whole operation is concealed from the eyes of spectators by a skin or blanket stretched over the patient and the hands of the operator.

585, 10. kiatéga. The buckskin piece has an oblong or longitudinal shape in most instances, and it is passed under the skin sideways and very gradually.

585, 11. tánkĕni ak waítash. Dave Hill gave as an approximate limit five days’ time.


In the Klamath Lake Dialect by Minnie Froben. Obtained by A. S. Gatschet.

É-ukshkni lápa spû´klish gítko.
The lake people two (kinds of) sweat-lodges have.
Ḵúḵiuk ḵĕlekapkash spû´klishla yépank käíla;
To weep over the deceased they build sweat-lodges digging up the ground;
stutílantko spû´klish, käíla waltchátko.
are roofed (these) sweat-lodges with earth covered.
Spû´klish a sha shû´ta kué-utch,
(Another) sweat-lodge they build of willows,
kítchikan’sh stinága=shítko; skû´tash a wáldsha 3
a little cabin looking like blankets they spread  
spû´klishtat tataták sĕ spukliá.
over the sweating-lodge when in it they sweat.
Tátataks a hû´nk wéas lúla, tatátaks a híshuaksh tchímĕna,
Whenever children died, or when a husband became widower,
snáwedsh wénuitk, ḵû´ḵi ḵĕlekátko, spû´klitcha
(or) the wife (is) widowed, they weep for cause of death go sweating
túmi shashámoks= lólatko; túnepni waítash tchík
many relatives who have lost; five days then
sa hû´uk spû´klia. 6
they sweat.  
Shiúlakiank   a sha ktái húyuka skoilakuápkuk;
Gathering they stones (they) heat (them) to heap them up (after use);
hútoks ktái ḵá-i tatá spukliû´t’huīsh.
those stones never having been used for sweating
Spúklish lúpĭa húyuka; ḵélpka a át,
Sweat lodge in front of they heat (them); heated (being) when,
ílhiat átui, ḵídshna ai î ámbu, kliulála.
they bring (them) inside at once, pour on them water, sprinkle.
Spû´kli a sha túmĕni “hours”; ḵélpkuk 9
Sweat then they several hours; being quite warmed up  
géka shualkóltchuk péniak ḵō´ḵsh pépe-udshak
they leave (and) to cool themselves off without dress only to go bathing
éwagatat, ḵóḵetat, é-ush wigáta.
in a spring, river, lake close by.
Spukli-uápka mā´ntch.
They will sweat for long hours.
Shpótuok i-akéwa kápka,
To make themselves strong they bend down young pine-trees
skû´tawia sha wéwakag knû´kstga.
(they) tie together they small brushwood with ropes.
Ndshiétchatka knû´ks   a sha shúshata. 12
Of (willow-)bark the ropes they make.  
Gátpampĕlank shkoshkî´lχa ktáktiagi
On going home they heap up into cairns small stones
hû´shkankok ḵĕlekápkash, ktá-i shúshuankaptcha î´hiank.
in remembrance of the dead, stones of equal size selecting.


No Klamath or Modoc sweat-lodge can be properly called a sweat-house, as is the custom throughout the West. One kind of these lodges, 587 intended for the use of mourners only, are solid structures, almost underground; three of them are now in existence, all believed to be the gift of the principal national deity. Sudatories of the other kind are found near every Indian lodge, and consist of a few willow-rods stuck into the ground, both ends being bent over. The process gone through while sweating is the same in both kinds of lodges, with the only difference as to time. The ceremonies mentioned 4-13. all refer to sweating in the mourners’ sweat-lodges. The sudatories of the Oregonians have no analogy with the estufas of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, as far as their construction is concerned.

586, 1. lápa spû´klish, two sweat-lodges, stands for two kinds of sweat-lodges.

586, 5. shashámoks=lólatko forms one compound word: one who, or: those who have lost relatives by death; cf. ptísh=lûlsh, pgísh=lûlsh; hishuákga ptísh=lúlatk, male orphan whose father has died. In the same manner, ḵĕlekátko stands here as a participle referring simultaneously to híshuaksh and to snáwedsh wénuitk, and can be rendered by “bereaved”. Shashámoks, distr. form of shá-amoks, is often pronounced sheshámaks. Túmi etc. means, that many others accompany to the sweat-lodge, into which about six persons can crowd themselves, bereaved husbands, wives or parents, because the deceased were related to them.

586, 7. Shiúlakiank etc. For developing steam the natives collect only such stones for heating as are neither too large nor too small; a medium size seeming most appropriate for concentrating the largest amount of heat. The old sweat-lodges are surrounded with large accumulations of stones which, to judge from their blackened exterior, have served the purpose of generating steam; they weigh not over 3 to 5 pounds in the average, and in the vicinity travelers discover many small cairns, not over four feet high, and others lying in ruins. The shrubbery around the sudatory is in many localities tied up with willow wisps and ropes.

586, 11. Spukli-uápka mā´ntch means that the sweating-process is repeated many times during the five days of observance; they sweat at least twice a day.


A Dakota Fable, by Michel Renville. Obtained by Rev. S. R. Riggs.

Śuŋka waŋ; ḳa wakaŋka waŋ waḳiŋ waŋ taŋka hnaka.
Dog a; and old-woman a pack a large laid away.
Uŋkan śuŋka ḳoŋ he sdonya.
And dog the that knew.
Uŋkaŋ waŋna haŋyetu, uŋkaŋ wakaŋka iśtiŋmaŋ kećiŋ
And now night, and old-woman asleep he thought
ḳa en ya: tuka wakaŋka kiŋ sdonkiye
and there went: but old woman the knew
ć̣a kiktahaŋ 3 waŋke, ć̣a ite hdakiŋyaŋ ape ć̣a kićakse,
and awake   lay, and face across struck and gashed,
ć̣a nina po, keyapi.
and much swelled, they say.
Uŋkaŋ haŋḣaŋna hehaŋ śuŋka tokeća waŋ en hi,
And morning then dog another a there came,
ḳa okiya ya.
and to-talk-with went.
Tuka pamahdedaŋ ite mahen inina yaŋka.
But head-down face within silent was.
Uŋkaŋ taku ićante niśića heciŋhaŋ omakiyaka wo, eya.
And what of-heart you-bad if me-tell, he-said.
Uŋkaŋ, Inina yaŋka wo, wakaŋka 3 waŋ teḣiya omakiḣaŋ do,
And, still be-you, old-woman   a hardly me-dealt-with,
eya, keyapi.
he-said, they say.
Uŋkaŋ, Tokeŋ nićiḣaŋ he, eya.
And, How to-thee-did-she, he-said.
Uŋkaŋ, Waḳin waŋ taŋka hnaka e waŋmdake ć̣a
And, Pack a large she-laid-away I-saw and
heoŋ otpa awape: k̇a waŋna haŋ tehaŋ k̇ehan,
therefore to-go-for I waited: and now night far then,
iśtiŋbe seća e en mde ć̣a pa timaheŋ 6 yewaya,
she-asleep probably there I went and head house-in   I-poked,
uŋkaŋ kiktahaŋ waŋke śta hećamoŋ: k̇a, Śi,
and awake lay although this-I-did: and, shoo,
de tukten yau he, eye, ć̣a itohna amape,
this where you-come, she-said, and face-on smote-me,
ć̣a dećen iyemayaŋ ce, eye ć̣a kipazo.
and thus she-me-left he-said and showed-him.
Uŋkaŋ, Huŋhuŋhe! teḣiya ećanićoŋ do, ihomeća waḳiŋ kiŋ
And, Alas! alas! hardly she-did-to-you, therefore pack the
uŋtapi 9 kta ce, eye ć̣a, Mnićiya wo, eya, keyapi.
we-eat   will, he-said and, Assemble, he-said, they say.
Ito, Minibozaŋna kićo wo, ḳa, Yaksa taŋiŋ śni kico wo,
Now, Water-mist call, and Bite off not manifest call,
Tahu waśaka kico wo, ḳa, Taisaŋpena kico wo, eya, keyapi.
Neck strong invite, and, His-knife-sharp call, he-said, they-say.
Uŋkaŋ owasiŋ wićakićo: ḳa waŋna owasiŋ en 12 hipi
And all them-he-called: and now all there   came
hehaŋ heya, keyapi:
then this-he-said, they-say:
Ihopo, wakaŋka de teḣiya ećakićoŋ će; miniheić̣iyapo,
Come-on, old-woman this hardly dealt-with; bestir-yourselves,
haŋyetu hepiya waćonića wakiŋ waŋ teḣiŋda ḳa on
night during dried-meat pack a she-forbid and for
teḣiya ećakićoŋ tuka, ehaeś untapi kta će, eya, keyapi. 15
hardly dealt-with-him but, indeed we eat will he-said, they say.  
Uŋkaŋ Minibozaŋna ećiyapi ḳoŋ he waŋna maġaźukiye
Then Water-mist called the that now rain-made,
ć̣a, aŋpetu osaŋ maġaźu ećen otpaza; ḳa wakeya
and, day all-through rained until dark; and tent
owasiŋ nina spaya, wihutipaspe olidoka owasiŋ taŋyaŋ ḣpan.
all very wet, tent-pin holes all well soaked.
Uŋkaŋ hehaŋ Yaksa taŋiŋ śni wihutipaspe 18 kiŋ owasiŋ yakse,
And then Bite-off-manifest-not tent-fastenings   the all bit-off,
tuka taŋiŋ śni yaŋ yakse nakaeś wakaŋka kiŋ sdonkiye śni.
but slyly bit-off so that old-woman the knew not.
Uŋkaŋ Tahuwaśaka he waḳiŋ ḳoŋ yape ć̣a maniŋkiya
And Neck-strong he pack the seized, and away off
yapa iyeya, ḳa tehaŋ eḣpeya.
holding-in-mouth-carried and far threw-it.
Hećen Taisaŋpena waḳiŋ ḳoŋ 21 ćokaya kiyaksa-iyeya.
So His-knife-sharp pack the   in-middle tore-it-open.
Hećeŋ waḳiŋ ḳoŋ haŋyetu hepiyana temyaiyeyapi, keyapi.
Hence pack the night during they-ate-all-up, they say.
Hećen tuwe wamanoŋ keś, saŋpa iwaḣaŋić̣ida
So that who steals although, more haughty
wamanoŋ waŋ hduze, 24 eyapi eće; de huŋkakaŋpi do.
thief a marries,   they-say always; this they-fable.


588, 24. This word “hduze” means to take or hold one’s own; and is most commonly applied to a man’s taking a wife, or a woman a husband. Here it may mean either that one who starts in a wicked course consorts with others “more wicked than himself,” or that he himself grows in the bad and takes hold of the greater forms of evil—marries himself to the wicked one.

It will be noted from this specimen of Dakota that there are some particles in the language which cannot be represented in a translation. The “do” used at the end of phrases or sentences is only for emphasis and to round up a period. It belongs mainly to the language of young men. “Wo” and “po” are the signs of the imperative.


There was a dog; and there was an old woman who had a pack of dried meat laid away. This the dog knew; and, when he supposed the old woman was asleep, he went there at night. But the old woman was aware of his coming and so kept watch, and, as the dog thrust his head under the tent, she struck him across the face and made a great gash, which swelled greatly.

The next morning a companion dog came and attempted to talk with him. But the dog was sullen and silent. The visitor said: “Tell me what makes you so heart-sick.” To which he replied: “Be still, an old woman has treated me badly.” “What did she do to you?” He answered: “An old woman had a pack of dried meat; this I saw and went for it; and when it was now far in the night, and I supposed she was asleep, I went there and poked my head under the tent. But she was lying awake and cried out: ‘Shoo! what are you doing here?’ and struck me on the head and wounded me as you see.”

Whereupon the other dog said: “Alas! Alas! she has treated you badly, verily we will eat up her pack of meat. Call an assembly: call Water-mist (i.e., rain); call Bite-off-silently; call Strong-neck; call Sharp-knife.” So he invited them all. And when they had all arrived, he said: “Come on! an old woman has treated this friend badly; bestir yourselves; before the night is past, the pack of dried meat which she prizes so much, and on account of which she has thus dealt with our friend, that we will eat all up”.

Then the one who is called Rain-mist caused it to rain, and it rained all the day through until dark; and the tent was all drenched, and the holes of the tent-pins were thoroughly softened. Then Bite-off-silently bit off all the lower tent-fastenings, but he did it so quietly that the old woman knew nothing of it. Then Strong-neck came and seized the pack with his mouth, and carried it far away. Whereupon Sharp-knife came and ripped the pack through the middle; and so, while it was yet night, they ate up the old woman’s pack of dried meat.

Moral.—A common thief becomes worse and worse by attaching himself to more daring companions. This is the myth.

Introduction (separate file)

Table of Contents (separate file)

Evolution of Language

Mythology of the North American Indians

Wyandot Government

Limitations to the Use of some Anthropologic Data

Mortuary Customs (separate file)

Central American Picture Writing

Cessions of Land by Indian Tribes

Sign Language (separate file)

Catalogue of Linguistic Manuscripts

Recording Indian Languages

Index (separate file)