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Fourth report of the committee, consisting of Dr. E. B. Tylor, Dr. G. M. Dawson, General Sir J. H. Lefroy,… British Association for the Advancement of Science 1888

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Fourth Repon a Committee, consisting of Dr. E. B. Tyloe,
Dr. G-. M. Dawson, General Sir J. H. Lefeoy, Dr. Daniel
Wilson, Mr. R. (x. Halibueton, and Mr. G-eoege W. Bloxam
(Secretary), appointed for the purpose of investigating and
publishing reports on the physical characters, languages, and
industrial and social condition of the North-Western Tribes of
the Dominion of Canada.
The Committee report that, in addition to Mr. Wilson, of Sanlt Ste. Marie,
who contributes some valuable remarks upon the Sarcee Indians, they have
been enabled to secure the services of Dr. Franz Boas (now of New York,
and one of the editors of' Science'), who has been for several years engaged
in ethnological investigations in America, particularly among the Eskimo
and in British Columbia, and who has consented to return to that province
for the purpose of continuing his researches there on behalf of the Committee, and in accordance with the instructions comprised in their
* Circular of Inquiry.' Only eight or nine weeks—in May, June, and
July last—were available for his trip, but, with the advantage of the
experience and information obtained in his previous journey, he has been
able to gather a large mass of valuable material. The results of his
inquiries will be given in his final report, to be presented next year. For
"the present occasion he has prepared some preliminary notes, with an
introductory letter (addressed to Mr. Hale), containing a brief account
of his proceedings, and some important suggestions concerning1 future
inquiries and the condition of the Indians of that province. The letter is
as follows:—
' I beg to transmit the following report of my proceedings, with
preliminary notes on the results of my researches in British Columbia.
In your instructions dated May 22, 1888, you made it my particular
object, on the present trip, to obtain as complete an account as possible
of the coast tribes and their languages. As on my previous journey, in
the winter of 1886-87,1 had collected a considerable amount of material
respecting the southern tribes, I turned my attention at once to the
Indians inhabiting the northern parts of the coast, including the Tlingit.
On June 1 I arrived in Vancouver, and after ascertaining certain doubtful points regarding the Skqomish, who live opposite the city, I proceeded
to Victoria on June 3. Mayor J. Grant, of that city, kindly gave me
permission to take anthropometric measurements of such Indians as were
in gaol. This proved the more valuable, as the natives were very reluctant
to have any measurements taken. I sought to obtain measurements and
drawings of skulls in private collections in Victoria, and was fortunate
enough to be able to measure eighty-eight skulls from various parts of the
coast. The results of these measurements must be reserved for the final
report. I will mention only the remarkable fact that skulls of closely related
tribes show great and constant differences. Comparisons of ten skulls
I each from Victoria, Sanitch, and Comox give the following results :—
95-5 '
J 234
These differences are in part due It seems,,
however, that this explanation is nc .s belong to-
the Salish stock.
' As soon as an opportunity offered to start nort-ward, I left Victoria,
and stayed the greater part of June in Port Essington, where I studied
the customs and language of the Tsimshian, and obtained notes on the
Haida. When returning to Victoria a few Heiltsuk from. Bella Bella
were on board the vessel, and I obtained notes on this tribe, which supplement to some extent my former observations. After my return to
Victoria I took up the Tlingit and Haida languages, and when several
canoes from the west coast of Vancouver Island arrived, that of the-
Nutka. In the beginning of July, Father J. Nicolai, who is thoroughly conversant with the Nutka language, arrived there from Kayokwaht, and in
a number of conversations gave me valuable information regarding the
grammar of that language. I obtained information respecting their-
legends and customs from a few natives, and on July 11 went to the mainland. After staying two days in Lytton I proceeded to Golden and up-
the Columbia river, in order to devote the rest of the available time to*
the Kootenay.    On July 26 I returned east.
' The results of my reconnoissance are necessarilyfragmentary, as I was-
not able to devote more than a few days to each tribe. I obtained, however, sufficient material to determine the number of linguistic stocks, and
the number of important dialects of those stocks which I visited. The-
vocabularies which I collected during my former and on the present trip
contain from 500 to 1,000 words, and embrace the following languages :
Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Kwakiutl (Heiltsuk and Lekwiltok dialects),,
Nutka, Salish (Bilqula, Pentlatsh, Comox, Nanaimo, Lkungen, Sishiatl,
Skqomish, Ntlakapamuq dialects), and Kootenay. I obtained, also, grammatical notes on all these languages, and texts in some of them.
11 may be allowed to add a few remarks on future researches on the-
ethnology of British Columbia. Only among the tribes from Bentinck
Arm to Johnson Strait the customs of the natives may be studied'
uninfluenced by the whites. But here, also, their extinction is only a-
question of a few years. Catholic missionaries are working successfully
among the Nutka; the fishing and lumbering industries bring the
natives of the whole coast into closer contact with the whites. In all
other parts of the country, except on the upper Skeena, the student is,,
to a great extent, compelled to collect reports from old people who have
witnessed the customs of their fathers, who heard the old myths told over
and over again. In the interior of the province even these are few, and it is
only with great difficulty that individuals well versed in the history of olden
times can be met with. After ten years it will be impossible in this region
to obtain any reliable information regarding the customs of the natives in
pre-Christian times. Even the languages are decaying since the advent
of the whites and on account of the extensive use of Chinook. Young-
people neither understand the elaborate speeches of old chiefs nor the old
songs and legends when properly told. Even the elaborate grammatical'
rules of these languages are being forgotten. For instance, old Nutka
will never form the plural of the verb without reduplication, while young-
men almost always omit it. Instead of the numerous modi, phrases are
used—in short, the languages are decaying rapidly. The study of the-|
anthropological features of these races is also becoming more and more!
difficult on account of their frequent intermarriages with whites ; and the1 ON   XHE  NOBTH-WESTEBN  TEIBES   OF   CANADA.
consequent difficulty of finding full-blood Indians. The once abundant
material of old native crania and skeletons lying scattered all over the-
province is becoming more and more scarce as it decays and the country
is being reclaimed.
' It is nowhere sufficient to study languages alone in order to solve-
ethnological problems ; but in this province the. study of a large amount-
of anthropological material is an absolute necessity on account of the-
diversity of languages and the great dialectic differences in some of them.
The Salish stock in British Columbia, for instance, is spoken in eleven dialects, which are each unintelligible to the speakers of the others. It would
be of great importance to study the anthropological features of this race,,
the northern tribes of which are physically very much like the Kwakiutl.
' Last of all I mention the antiquities of the province. Valuable relics-
are destroyed every day. They are turned up by the plough and thrown
away : graves and mounds are levelled, shell heaps are used for manuring
purposes, cairns are removed. The destruction will be very thorough, as-
those parts in which relics are found are at the same time those which are-
the earliest to be reclaimed.
' For all these reasons an early study of the ethnology of the province-
must be considered a necessity. In the course of a few years much might-
be done to preserve the most important facts. The languages might be
reduced to writing, the interesting poems and songs that are still afloat
might be preserved, we might obtain a complete account of the mythology,.
and sufficient material for anthropological researches. A few years hence it-
will be impossible to obtain a great part of the information that may now
be gathered at a comparatively slight expense.
' I cannot close these remarks without adding a few words on the
present state of the Coast Indians. It is well known that they have been
greatly reduced in numbers since the advent of the whites, and that they
are still diminishing. It is also well known that, with few exceptions,,
they have made no progress whatever. The reasons for these facts are
easily understood: the natives become accustomed to products of our
manufacture, and in order to purchase them become servants where they
have been masters before. At the same time their native industries-
decay. This process is hastened by the influence of missionaries, who
discourage all native arts, as connected with their heathenish customs,
without being able to supply anything in their stead. Thus the psychical
life of the natives is impoverished, and this, I think, accounts principally
for their rapid degradation after their first contact with the whites. The only
way to civilise these tribes is clearly shown by Mr. W. Duncan's success at
Metlakahtla. He made the Indians of Metlakahtla a self-sustaining, independent community. Similar results are gradually being obtained in
other places, and these results show that the establishment of independent
industries on co-operative principles will educate the Indians and make-
them capable of becoming useful members of the State. The easiest and
soundest way to do this is to encourage native industries and arts—fishing and working in wood. At the same time the natives ought to be-
educated to a more sanitary way of living. This can be attained only by
putting energetic medical men in charge of Indian districts. There can.
ibe no doubt that an intelligent man, capable of adjusting his argument to
Ithe mind of the Indian, would easily induce them to a thorough sanitation. The Indians do not individually give up their old customs, but
invariably do so in council.    By gaining their confidence, the council. #
oould be easily induced to listen to sound advice. I do not believe that
it is too late to save the Indian from utter destruction; and we may still
hope that the spectacle of an intelligent race becoming more and more
rdegraded and vanishing from the earth's surface will cease to exert its
-saddening influence upon the traveller who visits the shores of British
To this letter Dr. Boas adds the following:—
Preliminary Notes on the Indians of British Columbia.
Although the Indians of the north-west coast of America belong to a
great number of linguistic stocks, and although their physical peculiarities
suggest that they belong to various races, their customs are so much
alike that it is impossible to describe one tribe without having reference
-to all the others. For this reason it is necessary in a general survey to
treat their languages and their physical and ethnographical character
separately, although from the standpoint of the psychologist it would
;seem more desirable to describe each tribe by itself.
The following are the principal races inhabiting the province, including
■the coast strip of Alaska: 1. the Tinne (or Tinneh), who occupy the
interior from the extreme north to Quesnelle and Chilcot in the south.
2. The Tlingit, on the coast of Alaska ; and the Haida, on Queen Charlotte Islands and the southern part of Prince of Wales Archipelago.
."3. The Tsimshian, on Nass and Skeena Rivers and the adjoining islands.
4. The Kwakiutl, from Douglas Channel to the central part of Vancouver
Island, excepting the west coast of that island and Dean Inlet and Ben-
tinck Arm. 5. The Nutka, of the west coast of Vancouver Island and
Cape Flattery. 6. The Salish, on the south-eastern part of Vancouver
Island, on the mainland as far as Quesnelle Lake and Selkirk Range, and
-on Bentinck Arm. 7. The Kutonaqa, on Kootenay Lake and River, and
•on the Upper Columbia.
[Dr. Boas here gives brief notes on the grammatical structure peculiail
to each of the six linguistic stocks which he has studied—the Tlinerit
{and Haida), Tsimpshian, Kwakiutl, Nutka, Salish, and Kutonaqa. It
has seemed advisable, however, to defer the publication of these notes
imtil they can appear in fuller form in the final report, where they will
foe accompanied by the comparative vocabularies and the ethnographical
map, and can have the benefit of the author's revision of the proofs.
In the Indian words comprised in this report the vowels are to be
pronounced as in Italian, and the consonants, for the most part, as in
English. The letters k- and g' represent deep gutturals corresponding to
the ordinary k g. The ^represents the German ch in ich. The q denotes |
-the sound of the Scotch ch in loch. By tl an exploded I is indicated, and
by k' an exploded ku, the u pronounced very indistinctly.]
Social Organisation.
I confine myself, in these preliminary notes, to a brief description ofl
the totemism of these tribes, leaving a more detailed discussion of the pre J
rogatives of the chiefs and of certain families to the final report.    Amon^
-the Tlingit and Haida we find a great number of crests, which, howeverJ
are divided into two groups—the raven and the wolf among the Tlingit,
the raven and the eagle among the Haida.    The Tsimshian have four
totems, the raven  (called Kanha'da), the eagle (Laqski'yek), the wolf
(Laqkyebd'), and the bear (Gylspotue'da.). The Heiltsuk and their northern
neighbours have three totems; the'k.iller (Delphinus orca) (Ha'nq'ai7itenoq),
the raven (K'6'iTitenoq), and the eagle (Wik'oaq/itenoq).    It is a very
remarkable fact that among the other tribes of Kawkiutl lineage no
totemism, in its strict meaning, is found.    The tribes enumerated above
have the system of relationship in the female line.    The child belongs-
to the mother's crest, and, although the wife follows her husband to his
village, the children, when grown up, always return to their mother's
tribe.   I conclude from the fact that the Kwakiutl, south of Rivers Inletr
have the system of  relationship in the male line, or, more properly
speaking, in both lines; that the Heiltsuk adopted their system of totems-
from the Tsimshian.    I have not heard a single tradition to the effect
that the gentes consider themselves the descendants of their totem; the
Tlingit and Haida, as well as the Tsimshian and Heiltsuk, have certain
traditions referring to ancestors who had encounters with certain spirits-
or animals who gave them their crests.    It is true that the Haida and
Tlingit claim to have been created by the raven, but the legend has no-
reference whatever to the totem.    The Kwakiutl and Salish tribes are also
divided into gentes, but these are not distinguished by animal totems, but
derive their origin each from a man who was sent down from heaven by
the deity, and who, in some way or other, obtained his crest from a
spirit.    These legends are of the same character as the corresponding"
ones of the Tsimshian.    The crest of the family is represented on paints
ings on the house fronts, on the 'totem posts,' and on tattooings.    The
latter are probably not used by the Tlingit, while the Haida  tattoo-
breast, back, arms, and legs.    The Tsimshian tattoo only the wrists,
according to their crest.   Tattoo marks are also used by the Nutka.   The
figures on posts and houses have always a reference to the being encountered by the ancestor, but sometimes also figures of the father's crest are
used by the owner, the father having the right to permit-his child to use
them.    The posts do not represent a continuous story, but every figure
refers to one tradition.     Each gens has also names of its own, which
among the Tsimshian must have a reference to the father's gens.    Thus, 1
on hearing a name a Tsimshian knows at once to what gens both the
bearer and his father belong.    Among the Salish and Kwakintl the child
follows, as a rule, the father's gens, but he may also acquire his mother's
gens.     By marriage he always acquires the prerogatives of his wife's
family.    It is only here that such prerogatives are connected with the
gentes.    They refer generally to the use of maskg and certain ceremonies
of the winter dance, the most important of which is the Ha'mats'a, the-
man-biter.    But the accession to these privileges is not only a right of
the young man, it is also his duty to accept them.    Among the Salish
tribes of the Gulf of Georgia the division into gentes is not as clearly
defined as farther north.    Here a group of gentes forms a tribe, each
gens inhabiting one village.    In removing the village from one place to
the other they retain the same name, which, however, is not the name of
the people, properly speaking, but that of their village.   Each gens derives-
its origin from a single man who descended from heaven, and whose sons
and grandsons became the ancestors of the gens, the child always belonging to his father's gens.    "While among the northern tribes marriages 238
in the same gens, or phratry, are strictly prohibited, there exists no such
Jaw among the Salish.
I have not found any trace of a division into gentes among the
It is one of the most interesting problems of ethnology to study the
■development of a system of mythology. On the north-west coast of
America this study is the more interesting, as we can show how legends
migrated from tribe to tribe. The great hero of the mythology of the
northern tribes is the raven, who created daylight, mountains, trees, men.
These raven legends have spread very far south, being even known to
the Cowitchin of Vancouver Island, and probably still farther south.
"The hero of the mythology of the southern tribes, on the other hand, is
the great wanderer, the son of the deity, who, on his migrations all over
the world, transformed men into animals, and animals into men. It
appears that this legend, which is known from the mouth of the Columbia
to Bella Bella, originated with the Salish tribes; however, we do not
know how far it extends inland. Another legend belonging to these
-tribes has spread far north. It refers to a visit to heaven, and the marriage of a young man to the sun's daughter. Traces of this tale are
found among the Tsimshian. The myths of the Kutona'qa and of the
Okanagan refer principally to the coyote. I shall proceed to describe
■briefly the myths of the various tribes, at the same time pointing out
their connection among each other.
The Tlingit say that the world was originally swinging to and fro in
«pace. There was something underneath it that was to serve as a rest
for the world; the latter approached it, but never succeeded in joining it.
All animals tried in vain to fasten the world to it. At last a female
■spirit, Harishane'ko (=the woman under us), smeared her belly with deer
tallow, lay down under the world, and when the latter approached the
underworld again the tallow fastened both together. The earth is considered square, the corners pointing north, south, east, and west. In the
north there is an enormous hole into which the water of the ocean gushes,
and from which it returns, thus causing the tides. There is another idea,
to the effect that the world is sharp like a knife's edge, but this seems to
foe said more in a moral aspect, the meaning being that the road of right
•doing is narrow; whoever does wrong falls from the road and dies. The
•earth rests on Harishane'ko, and when the latter moves there is an earthquake. The moon is the sun's husband. There is a chief in heaven
called Tahi't, the ruler of those who fall in war. These fighting souls
produce the aurora. It is worth remarking that this belief is also found
among the Eskimo. On the same level with the earth, but outside its
borders, is the country of those who died of sickness.
The creation legend of the Tlingit is as follows:—In the beginning
there lived a great chief and his sister. The chief killed all his sister's
sons as soon as they were born. One day' when the woman went to the
beach mourning the death of her children, a seagull advised her to swallow
three stones. She obeyed, and after a few days gave birth to three boys,
the oldest of whom was Tetl, the raven. He wanted to avenge the death
of his brothers, and challenged his uncle. The latter tried to drown Tetl
by making the waters rise until the whole earth was covered. He kept
himself afloat by means of his hat, which grew higher as the waters were
A —
rising. Tetl, however, flew up to the sky, and at last pressed down his
uncle's hat, thus drowning his enemy. The waters disappeared again,
and then Tetl obtained the sun, which was in possession of a chief, and
the fresh water, which was owned by the fabulous Kanu'k-. He made
trees and mountains next, and finally tried to create man. First he
shaped human figures out of stone and wood, but did not succeed. Then
he made man out of grass, and for this reason men are mortal. After
this Tetl began to wander all over the world, and in all his further adventures he is described as extremely voracious and greedy.
The mythology of the Haida is substantially the same as that of the
Tlingit. The raven is called Tetl by the Kaigani, while on Queen
Charlotte Island his name is Qoia.    His uncle's name is Nenkyilstla's.
The Tsimshian have also traditions referring to the raven, but he is
not considered the creator of men. They consider the Nass River region
as their original home, and the Nass language the oldest dialect of the
Tsimshian. The origin of men is thus accounted for :—A long time ago
a rock and an elder, near the mouth of Nass River, were about to give
birth to men. The children of the elder were the first to be born, therefore man is mortal. If the children of the rock had been born first, he
would have been immortal. From the rock, however, he received the
nails on hands and feet.
The Tsimshian worship the deity in heaven, Leqa', who lives above
the sun. The raven myths were evidently imported from some foreign
sources, and then the raven was made the descendant of this deity in
•order to account for his supernatural powers. This legend, which is found
from Nass river as far south as the northern portion of Vancouver Island,
lis substantially as follows :—A chiefs wife, who was with child, died and
was buried. In the grave she gave birth to a hoy, who grew up feeding
upon his mother's body. Eventually he was discovered and claimed by the
chief, who grew to be very fond of him. The boy used to shoot birds and to
skin them. One day he put on a bird's skin and flew up to heaven, where
he married the deity's daughter. They had a son, who, when born,
dropped from his mother's hand and fell into the ocean. He was found
by a chief, and in course of time became Tqemsem, of whom the same
adventures are told which Tetl is said to have accomplished. He appears
generally in the shape of the raven.
The flood, of which the Tsimshian also tell, is said to have been sent
by heaven as a punishment for the ill-behaviour of man. First, all people,
with the exception of a few, were destroyed by a fiood, and later on by
fire. Before the flood the earth was not as it is now, but there were no
mountains and no trees. After the flood Leqa' created these too. The
earth is considered to be round, and resting on a pillar that is held by an
old woman.
The most important of the Kwakiutl legends is that of the wanderer
K'a'nikila.    He is the son of the deity, and descended from heaven to
rvearth, where he was born again of a  woman.    When he came to be
Vrown up he wandered all over the world, transforming his enemies into
inimals  and making friends with many a mighty chief.    Another im-
yhportant legend is that of the mink, Tle'selakila (meaning the son of the
Bun), who made a^chain of arrows reaching from the sky to the earth, on
vhich he climbed up and visited his father, who let him carry the sun in
>. lis stead.    When, however, he went too fast, and set the earth on fire,
)t ks father cast him into the sea.    While the northern tribes of this race
M i
REPORT 1888.
are acquainted with the raven legends, those farther south ascribe all thei
adventures of the raven to the mink. Another class of legends of thei
Kwakiutl is of great importance as referring to the spirits of the dances-
I will mention in this place that these remarkable dances have evidently!
originated with the Kwakiutl, although they are at present practised by)
the Tsimshian and Haida, and by some of the southern tribes. Thej
Tsimshian practise only a few of them, the names of the dances being all
of Kwakiutl origin. According to their own statements they were]
obtained by intermarriage with the Heiltsuk. The Haida adopted thenri
from the Tsimshian. In all these dances ornaments of cedar bark, dyedti
red, are used, and it appears that this custom also originated among
the Kwakiutl. The most prominent figure of this winter dance is tha
man-eater, called Ha'mats'a (the eater) by the Kwakiutl, Elaqo'tla by the
Bilqula, O'lala by the Haida and Tsimshian. The latter call his dance
also the Wlhalai't (the great dance). The Ha'mats'a is initiated by a
spirit, referring to which numerous traditions exist. It is a peculiaritji
of Kwakiutl mythology that it treats of many supernatural beings, whila
farther north almost exclusively the heaven, the sun, moon, and raven
have supernatural power. Among these beings the following are of im-l
portance:—The Tson6'k-oa (probably a mythical form of the grizzly bear),
the Thunderbird, the Si'siutl (the double-headed snake), and a cuttlefish!
of enormous size. The myths of the Heiltsuk are much influenced by
those of the Bilqula, their eastern neighbours.
The legends of the Nutka treat also principally of the great wandererJ
and embody, so far as I am aware, no element which is not found among!
the Kwakiutl.
The legends of the Salish vary to a great extent among the various!
tribes, those of the coast tribes resembling the myths of the Kwakiutll
The wanderer and the sun are here the heroes of the greater part of the
myths. The legend of the wanderer does not differ from that of the
Kwakiutl, except in that he is himself the deity. Each remarkable stone or
rock is described as being a man transformed by him. He made a great
fire in order to destroy man, and later on made the ocean rise and cover*
the land. The ascent to heaven on a chain of arrows is one of the principal objects of their legends, the tale treating frequently of a murder of
the old sun and the origin of the new one. Besides this, the double-headed
snake is of importance, even more so than among the Kwakiutl.
The mythology of the Bilqula, whose language is closely related to tha<f
of the dialects of the Gulf of Georgia, differs greatly from that of the
other Salish tribes, being evidently influenced by their neighbours. Their
mythology, on the other hand, has influenced that of the Heiltsuk. I do
not think that the wanderer legend is found among them. They tell of
the raven who created daylight, and of two men, Masmasala'niq and
Tula'timot, who descended from heaven, created man, and gave him his
arts. This legend is one of the most beautiful of those found on the coast.
Its origin is doubtful. It would be necessary to study the mythology of,
the tribes of the interior more closely in order to arrive at a satisfactory!
understanding of this myth. The Bilqula have also the legend of th<3
mink carrying the sun.    They call him T'otk-oa'ya.
I am not well acquainted with the myths of the tribes of the interior^
having collected only a limited number among the Ntlakapamuq.    The;
also tell of the wanderer who transformed men into stones, but it i|
doubtful whether he is in any way connected with the deity.     The^
legends referring to the sun are numerous, one of the most important
being the visit to the sun. There are many legends referring to the raven
and to the mink, and here for the first time we find the coyote playing an
important part in the mythology.
The heroes of the myths of the Kutonaqa are the sun and the coyote.
These myths are more closely connected with those of their south-eastern
neighbonrs than with those of the north-west coast Indians. It is, however, of interest to notice that the legend of a chain of arrows reaching
up to the sky, and a conquest of the sky, which is so important in the
Salish tales, occurs here also. One of the most interesting legends is that
of the origin of the sun. The animals tried by turns to act as the sun,
but none succeeded. The coyote almost succeeded, but as he made it
too hot, and as he told everything he saw going on upon the earth, he
was also compelled to give up his place in the sky, and then the two sons
of the lynx became sun and moon. Later on, the coyote became the
father-in-law of the sun, and many are the tales that refer to his adventures. He plays a part similar to that of the raven in the tales of the
Religion, Shamanism, Mortuary Customs.
A study of mythology and of customs shows that the Indians of this
province worshipped principally the sun or the heaven.     The Tlingit
and Haida pray to the moon, and in praying blow feathers up as an
offering.    They also pray to mountains, and believe that the animals
of their crest protect them, although they are not forbidden to kill them.
They believe in the transmigration of souls, the soul of the deceased being:
born again in a child of the same gens.    The souls of animals return in
the same way in their young.    Sickness is to a great extent ascribed to .
witchcraft, and it is the duty of the shaman to cure the sick and to findV
out the witch.    The shaman is initiated by acquiring a spirit.    Cleanliness is considered as being agreeable to the spirits ; therefore the novice -
must   bathe   frequently.    Great   powers  are ascribed to people  who-
abstained from sexual intercourse.     The dead,   except shamans,  are
burned, and the ashes put up in small boxes.    Shamans are buried near -
the beach, one coffin being deposited on top of the other.
The Tsimshian have a supreme deity called Leqa'. Prayers are frequently not addressed to him directly, but to spirits, the Neqno'q, who
convey them to him.' Most of the prayers have conventional forms. In
praying for clear weather for instance, they say: ' JNeqno'q, Neqno'q, chief,
chief, have mercy! Look down upon thy people under thee. Pull up
thy foot and wipe thy face!' They think that the existence of man is
pleasing to the deity, and that he enjoys the smoke rising from their
fires. They pray: ' Have mercy upon us! Else there will be nobody to.
make the smoke rise up to thee. Have pity upon us!' The Tsimshian
believe that the dead live in a country similar to our own, and that they
I are never in want. The dead are buried, but the heart is taken out and
buried apart. Chiefs are sometimes burnt, and so are shamans. If a.
[series of deaths occurred in a family, the mourners used to cut off the
Ifirst joint of the fourth finger, in order to put an end to the misfortunes
lof their family.
The Kwakiutl worship the sun.    It is not quite clear whether they
torship K anikila, the wanderer, besides, or whether they address their
payers only to the sun.   Their dances are closely connected with their
1888. " s, 242
religious ideas, particularly the dance Tlok-oala (= something unexpected
coming from above), which, in course of time, has partly been adopted by
all their neighbours. There are a great number of spirits of this dance,
each of which has his own class of shamans, the duties and prerogatives
of whom vary according to the character of their gtnii. The Kwakiutl
bury their dead in boxes, which are placed in small houses or on trees.
Posts, carved according to the crest of the deceased, are placed in front
of the graves. Food is burnt for the dead on the beach. Their mourning
ceremonies are very complicated and rigorous.
The Coast Salish worship the sun. They pray to him and are not
allowed to take their morning meal until the day is well advanced. The
wanderer, called Kumsno'otl by the Comox, Qals by the Cowitchin and
Lkungen, and Qais by the Skqomish, is also worshipped. They believe
that he lives in heaven and loves the good, but punishes the bad. The
art of shamanism was bestowed by him upon the first man, who brought
it down from heaven.
The Kutonaqa are also sun-worshippers, even more decidedly so than
any of the other tribes. They pray to the sun. They offer him a smoke
from their pipe before smoking themselves, and sacrifice their eldest
children in order to secure prosperity to their families. They believe
that the souls of the deceased go towards the east, and will return in
course of time with the sun. Occasionally they have great festivals,
during which they expect the return of the dead. They have also the
custom of cutting off the first joints of the fingers as a sacrifice to the
sun. They pierce their breasts and arms with sharp needles and cut off
pieces of flesh, which they offer to the sun. It is doubtful whether
they practise the sun-dance of their eastern neighbours. The dead are
buried, their heads facing the east. It is of interest that the positions of
the body after death are considered to be prophetic of future events.
The mourners cut their hair and bury it with the deceased. Warriors
are buried among trees which are peeled and painted red. Each shaman
has his own genius, generally a bird or another animal, which he acquires
by fasting in the woods or on the mountains. The shamans are able to
-speak with the souls of absent or deceased persons, and are skilful
Report on the Sarcee Indians, by the Rev. JE. F. Wil
The Sarcee Indians belong to the great Athabascan or Tinneh stock,
to which the Chipewyans, Beavers, Hares, and others in the North-West
and, it is said, the Navajoes, in New Mexico, also belong. They were
formerly a powerful nation, but are now reduced to a few hundreds.
Their reserve, which consists of a fine tract of prairie land, about a
hundred square miles in extent, adjoins that of the Blackfeet, in Alberta,
a little, south of the Canadian Pacific Railway line, and seventy or eighty
miles east of the Rocky Mountains. Although friendly and formerly
confederate with the Blackfeet, they bear no affinity to that people; they
belong to a distinct stock and speak an altogether different language.
They are divided into two bands—the Blood Sarcees and the Real
i During my visit, which lasted seven days, I had several interview
with their chief, 'Bull's Head,' a tall, powerful man, about sixty years f
age ; and it was from him and one or two of his leading men that!
gathered most of my i ^formation. I found, however, that the Sarcees r—
were not so ready to converse, or to tell either about their language or 7
their history, as were the Blackfeet, whom I visited last summer. Tea
and tobacco seemed to be with them the chief desiderata, and except
with gifts of this kind it seemed almost impossible to gain anything from
them. And after all, even when plied with these commodities, the information they gave was very meagre, and often far from satisfactory.
From what little I saw of these people I should be inclined to say that
they are of a lower order and inferior in mental capacity to the Blackfeet;
I judge this chiefly by the style in which they told their stories and
traditions, such as they were, and by their having no elaborated theories
as to certain phenomena in nature, about which many other of the Indian
tribes have always so much to say.
Chief ' Bull's Head,' in reply to my questions as to their early history,
made a great show of oratory, both by voice and gesture, but much of
what he said was very childish and confused, and seemed to be scarcely
worth the trouble of putting down.
These people call the Blackfeet j Katce,' the Crees ' Nishinna,' the
Sioux ' Kaispa,' and themselves ' Sotenna.' The Indians of their own
stock, as I understand, they call ' Tinnatte.' These two last names seem
certainly to connect them with the great ' Tinneh' or Athabascan nation.
Sarcee (or rather Sarxi) is the name by which they are called by the
Whence these People Came.
' Formerly,' said I Bull's Head,' * the Sarcee territory extended from
the Rocky Mountains to the Big River (either the Saskatchewan or the
Peace River). Our delight was to, make corrals for the buffaloes, and to
drive them over the cut bank and let them fall. Those were glorious
days, when we could mount our swift-footed horses, and ride like the
wind after the flying herd; but now the buffalo is gone we hang our
heads, we are poor. And then, too, we used to fight those liars, the
Crees : we engaged in many a bloody battle, and their bullets pierced our
teepees. Thirty battles have I seen. When I was a child the Sarcees
were in number like the grass; the Blackfeet and Bloods and Peigans
were as nothing in comparison. Battles with the Crees and disease
brought in among us by the white man have reduced us to our present
pitiable state.'
Another Indian told us how the Sarcees were at one time one people
with the Chipewyans, and gave us the myth which accounts for their
separation. ' Formerly,' he said, ' we lived, in the north country. We
were many thousands in number. We were travelling south. It was
winter, and we had to cross a big lake on the ice. There was an elk's
horn sticking out of the ice. A squaw went and struck the horn with an
axe. The elk raised himself from the ice and shook his head. The
people were all frightened and ran away. Those that ran toward the
north became the Chipewyans, and we who ran toward the south are the
" Sotenna " or " Sarcees." '
* The Chipewyans,' said' Bull's Head,' 'speak our language. It is twenty
years since I saw a Chipewyan. We call them " Tcohtin." They live up
north, beyond the Big River' (probably the Peace River). 244
REPORT 1888.
Their Traditions, Beliefs, &c.
' There was a time,' said ' Bull's Head,' ' when there were no lakes.
The lakes and rivers were occasioned by the bursting of the belly of the
buffalo. It was when the belly of the buffalo burst that the people
divided; some went to the north and some to the south. For years and
years I have been told that the Creator made all people, and I believe it.
I have heard my mother and other old people speak of the days when
there were no guns and no horses, when our people had only arrows,,
and had to hunt the buffalo on foot; that must have been a very long
time ago.'
The Sarcees have a tradition similar to that of the Blackfeet about
men and women being first made separately, and then being brought
together through the action of the mythical being ' Napiw.'
They have also a tradition of the flood, which accords in its main
features with that of the Ojibways, Crees, and other Canadian tribes.
They say that when the world was flooded there were only one man and
one woman left, and these two saved themselves on a raft, on which they
also collected animals and birds of all sorts. The man sent a beaver-
down to dive and it brought up a little mud from the bottom, and this
the man moulded in his hands to form a new world. At first the world
was so small that a little bird could walk round it, but it kept getting-
bigger and bigger. ' First,' said the narrator, ' our father took up his
abode on it, then there were men, then women, then animals, then birds.
Our father then created the rivers, the mountains, the trees, and all the
things as we now see them.'
When the story was finished I told the narrator that the Ojibway
tradition was very much the same as theirs, only that they said it was a
musk-rat that brought up the earth and not a beaver. Upon this five or
six of the men who were squatting around inside the teepee, smoking
cried, ' Tes, yes ! The man has told you lies; it was a musk-rat, it was
a musk-rat! '
It seems dubious whether the Sarcees are sun-worshippers; but, like
the Blackfeet, they call the sun ' our father,' and the earth ' our mother.'
They also engage each summer in the ' sun-dance.' They depend also for
guidance in their actions on signs in the sky and on dreams. They think
they know when there is going to be a fight by the appearance of the
moon. One of their number, named 'Many Swans,' says he is going to
have a good crop this year, for he dreamed that a white woman came
down from above and asked to see his garden, and he showed his garden
to the woman, and it was all green.
' Bull's Head ' had no theory to give as to the cause of thunder ; he
knew that Indians of other tribes said it was a big bird flapping its
wings, but his people did not say so ; they did not know what it was ;
neither had they anything to say about an eclipse.
Manner op Living.
Tbe Sarcee Indians are at present all pagans; they appear to have no
liking for the white people, and the white people seem to have little
liking for them, and would gladly deprive them of their lands and drive
them away farther into the wilderness were they permitted to do so.
But the paternal Government, as represented by the Indian Department, ON THE  NORTH-WESTERN  TRIBES  OF  CANADA.
takes care that they are not imposed upon. There is an Indian Agent
stationed on their reserve, who twice a week doles out to them the
Government rations, consisting of excellent fresh beef and good flour; and
there is also a farm instructor, who has charge of the farming stock and
implements, and does what he can to induce these warriors and hunters
to farm.
They have also residing among them a missionary of the Church of
England, who visits them in their teepees, and does his best to collect
their little blanketed children to school, giving two Government biscuits
to each scholar as a reward for attendance. But the people are evidently
averse to all these things, which are being done for their good. Their
only idea of the white man seems to be that of a trespassing individual,
who has more in his possession than he knows what to do with, and may
therefore fairly be preyed upon.
The dress of these people consists, as with Other wild Indians, of a
foreech-clout, a pair of blanket leggings, beaded moccasins, and a blanket
thrown loosely, but gracefully, over one or both shoulders. They wear
their long black hair in plaits, hanging vertically, one plait on each side of
the face, and one or more at the back. Some of them knot their hair on
the top of the head ; and some, I noticed, wore a coloured handkerchief
folded and tied round the temples. This, I believe, is one distinguishing
mark of the Navajo Indians in New Mexico. Very often the leggings
and moccasins are dispensed with, and the man appears to have nothing
•on except his grey, white, or coloured blanket. The women wear an
ordinary woman's dress of rough make and material, and short in the
skirt, next to the skin, leggings and moccasins, and a blanket round the
shoulders. Ornaments are worn by both sexes, but chiefly by the men.
They consist of brooches and earrings made of steel, necklaces and brace-.
lets made of bright-coloured beads, bones, claws, teeth, and brass wire,
and finger-rings, also of brass wire, coiled ten or twelve times, and covering the lower joint of the finger. Every finger of each hand is sometimes
covered with these rings. Both men and women paint the upper part of
the face with ochre or vermilion. The people live in ' teepees,' conical-
shaped lodges, made of poles covered with tent cotton, in the summer,
and in low log huts, plastered over with mud, in winter. They
depend for their subsistence almost entirely on the rations supplied by
Government. They keep numbers of ponies, but seem to make little use
of them beyond jriaing about. They keep no cattle or animals of any
kind beyond theaaj ponies and dogs. The latter are savage, and are said
to be descendant^' of, the wolf and the coyote, with which animals they
still often breed. They seem to have no manufactures; they make no
oanoes, baskets^ &c, but they know how to prepare the hides and skins of
the animals th«y kill, and they make their own clothing, saddles, bows
and arrows, qind moccasins. Some of the women do very excellent bead-
work. Bridges they do not use; a rope or thong fastened to the pony's
lower jaw feakes the place of a bridle; their whips are a short stout stick,
studded w^h brass nails, and provided with two leathern thongs as lashes
at on© eihd, and a loop for the wrist at the other, Their bows are of
cherrV/woodf strung with a leathern thong, and their arrows of the
Saskatoon willow, winged with feathers, and pointed with scrap-iron,
filed to a sharp point. The shaft of the arrow has four shallow grpoypfne
qlown its entire length. ^^jfeer world,
/ 246
The Sarcees, like most other wild Indians, are inveterate gamblers.
They will gamble everything away—ponies, teepees, blankets, leggings,
moccasins—till they have nothing left but their breech-clout. In my
report of the Blackfeet last year I mentioned the use of a little hoop or
wheel for gambling purposes. I find that the Sarcees also use this, and
two of them showed me how they play the game. A little piece of board,
if procurable, or two or three flattened sticks, laid one on the other, are
put for a target, at a distance of eighteen or twenty feet from the starting-
point, and the two players then take their places beside each other ; one
has the little wheel in his left hand, an arrow in his right; the other one
has only an arrow. The play is to roll the wheel and to deliver the two
arrows simultaneously, all aiming at the mark which has been set up.
If the wheel falls over on one of the arrows, it counts so many points,
according to the number of beads on the wire spoke of the wheel that
touch the arrow. Nothing is counted unless the little wheel falls on one
of the arrows. The articles for which they play are valued at so many
points each. A blanket is worth, perhaps, ten points, a pony fifty, and so on.
Another method by which these people gamble is as follows: Two
men squat side by side on the ground, with a blanket over their knees,
and they have some small article, such as two or three brass beads tied
together, which they pass from one to another under the blanket; and
the other side, which also consists of two persons, has to guess in which
hand the article is to be found—very much like our children's ' hunt the
whistle.' The Sarcees use also the English playing cards, but it is a
game of their own that they play with them. Whoever gets the most
cards is the winner.
The Sarcees are polygamous, the men having two, three, or four
wives. The time of moving camp is generally looked upon as a propitious time for love-making. The camp is in the form of a ring, with
the horses picketed in the centre. Early in the morning the young men
drive the horses to a swamp or slough to water them. They are thinking,
perhaps, of some young squaw whom they wish to approach, but they
are ashamed to speak to her. Then, as soon as all is ready for the move,
the chief gives the word, and the callers summon the people to start on
the march. The chief goes first and leads the way. Now is the opportunity for the bashful young swains; they drop behind the rest and
manage to ride alongside the young women of their choice, and to get a
few words into their ears. If the young woman approves the offer, she
follows her white sister's example by referring the youiag man to her
parents. If the parents consent, mutual presents are exchanged, such as
horses, blankets, &c.; the girl is dressed in her best, and he&face painted,
and the young man takes her away. A husband can div orce himself
from his wife at any time if he pleases, but he has to restore the presents
that he received with her, or their equivalent. Girls are often hetrothed
at ten years of age and married at fourteen. A betrothed girl may not
look in a man's face until after her marriage. A man may not itaeet his
gfetother-in-law ; if he chance to touch her accidentally he must givd1 her
F^resent.^ At a feast among the Blackfeet at which I was present &in
xSut tne^.jr,0tn^in.iaw was standing without and sending messages vo
T within to make haste ard leave before all the good thingjs ON THE NORTH-WESTERN TRIBES  OF  CANADA.
were done, so that she might come in and get her share; but he sent
word back that he was in no hurry. Parents do not often punish their
children, but sometimes, in a fit of ill-temper, will beat them cruelly.
They are more cruel to their wives than to their children. While I was
making these notes a Sarcee woman came into the lodge with her nose
cut off; her husband had done it as a punishment for her keeping
company with another man.
The Sarcees are not considered to be much versed in the use of medicinal roots and herbs; they are much more ready to take the white man's
medicine than are their neighbours, the Blackfeet.
Among themselves they depend chiefly on magic and witchcraft for
recovery from sickness. There are about a dozen so-called ' medicinemen ' in the camp, but most of them are women. Chief among them is
an old squaw named ' Good Lodge.' They are always highly paid for
their services, whether the patient recovers or not. A medicine-man
when called in to see a sick person will first make a stone red-hot in the
fire, then touch the stone with his finger, and with the same finger press
various parts of the patient's body, to ascertain the locality and character
of the sickness. Then he will suck the place vigorously and keep spitting
the disease (so he pretends) from his mouth. This is accompanied by
drum-beating and shaking a rattle. The Sarcees do not bleed or cup,
but they blister (often quite efficaciously) by applying the end of a piece
of burning touchwood to the affected part. They also use the vapour-
bath. To do this a little bower, about three feet high, is made of pliable
green sticks, covered over closely with blankets. Several stones are
heated red and placed in a small bole in the ground inside the bower;
and over these the patient sits in a state of nudity and keeps putting
water on the stones, which is supplied to him by an attendant from
without. When thoroughly steamed, and almost boiled, he rushes out,
and plunges into cold water. This treatment sometimes effects a cure,
but more often induces bad results and death. The vapour-bath, as
above described, is used very extensively by Indians of many different
tribes ; some, however, omit the plunge into cold water.
Burial Customs.
I had a good opportunity to investigate the burial customs of these
people. Riding across the prairie with a young- Englishman who had
spent several years in the neighbourhood, we came upon a ' bluff,' or
small copse, of fir and poplar trees, covering some two or three acres 01
ground. We suspected it was a burial-ground, and, dismouting from
our horses, entered it. No sooner had we done so than we found ourselves in the midst of the dead—the bodies wound up in blankets and
tent-cloth, Kke mummies, and deposited on scaffolds from six to eight
feet from the ground. Four or five of these bodies could be seen from
one point, and others became visible as we pushed our way through the
tangled underbrush. A little baby's body, wrapped up in cloth, was
jammed into the forked branch of a fir-tree about five-and-a-half feet from
the ground. The earth was black and boggy and the stench nauseous.
Here and there lay the bleached bones and tangled manes of ponies that
had been shot when their warrior owners died—the idea being that the
equine spirits would accompany the deceased persons to the other world, RB5BSBS
and make themselves useful there. Beside each body lay a bundle of
earthly goods—blankets, leggings, saddles, &c, also cups, tin pots,
kettles, and everything that the spirit of the departed could be supposed
to want. Pursuing our explorations we came upon a ' death teepee.' I
had heard of these, and had often desired to see one. It was just an
ordinary teepee, or Indian lodge, made of poles leaning from the edge of a
circle, fifteen feet or so in diameter, to a point at the top, and covered
with common tent-cloth. The stench was disgusting, and the ground
like a cesspool; but I wanted to see all, so we effected an entrance and
examined the contents. The old warrior, whoever he may have been,
was wrapped up in rotting, sodden blankets, sitting with his back against
an ordinary Indian back-rest. We could not see his face, as the blanket
covered it, but the top of his scalp was visible and a great bunch of
slimy, filthy-looking eagle feathers adorned his head; just behind him
hung his leathern quiver, ornamented with a leathern fringe, two feet in
length and full of arrows ; also his beaded tobacco-pouch ; and by his side
were a tin basin, a fire-blackened tin pot with a cover, and a large bundle
of blankets, clothing, and other effects. I made a hasty sketch of the
dismal scene and then retired. We were glad to mount our horses once
more and to breathe again the fresh air of the prairie.
Physical Development.
The Sarcees do not strike me as so fine or tall a race as the Blackfeet,
although one whose measure I here give was of about the same height as
the Blackfoot Indian, ' Boy Chief,' whom I measured last year. They
have remarkably small hands and feet. I traced on paper the hand of a
Sarcee Indian named ' Head above Water.'
Following is the measurement of an adult Sarcee, about thirty years
of age, named ' Many Shields.'
ft   in.
1. Height from ground to vertex1 5    8£
2. „ „ meatus auditorius     .       .        .        .    5   3J
3. „ „ chin 4 ll|
5. „ „ umbilicus .       .       .       . 3    5g-
7. „ „ fork 2   8
8. „ „ knee-cap joint 1    8A
11. .   „ „ elbow (bent) S   6i
12. „ „ tip of finger (hanging vertically)    .   2   2f-
13. Height—sitting on the ground 2 11£
16. Circumference of chest at armpits 3   0
17. „ „ mammas        .       .       .       .        .2 11J
18. „ at haunches   .......    2 11^-
26. Span—outstretched arms 5   8£
27. „      thumb to middle finger 0   7£
28. Length of thumb 0  -2| "
29. „ foot        .        .   0   9#
30. Head—greatest circumference (over glabella)       .        .       .1 llj I
31. „ arc, root of nose to inion 14
32. „ „ meatus auditorius, over head       .        .        .       .    1    1|
33. „ „   over glabella to meatus auditorius      .        .       .11
41. „ length of face, root of nose to chin   .       .       .       .   0   5|
Hair, eyes, and skin the same as those of the Blackfoot Indian 'Boy
Chief (see Report of 1887).
1 In he measurements of the Blackfoot' Boy Chief,' given in the Eeport of last
year, the 'height from ground to vertex' should have been 5 ft. 8f in., insteald of
4 ft. 8| in., as printed. ON  THE  NORTH-WESTERN TRIBES  OF  CANADA.
Two or three young Indians tried the strength of their eyesight.
They could count the prescribed dots at a distance of 28 feet.
I cannot give as full a report of the Sarcee language as I did of the
Blackfoot, for the reason that no one, so far as I could learn, outside the
Sarcee tribe has any knowledge of it. The missionary in charge had
only arrived a few weeks before, and though he knew the Blackfoot, and
through that medium could make himself understood by a few of the
people, he knew nothing whatever of Sarcee. We were told that it was
an exceedingly difficult language to acquire, and full of gutturals; others
said that it had no vowels in it; others that it was like a hen cackling.
Under these circumstances it was vain to expect to make out the grammatical rules of the language, but I thought I would do what I could to
collect a small vocabulary of words. A few of the people understood
Blackfoot, and some few others Cree, and through the medium of these
two languages I was able to collect the following Sarcee words and short
Pronounce a and & as the first and second d in larva, e as in they,
* as in pique, ? as in pick, o as in note, u as in rule, ai as in aisle, au as
ou in bough, h guttural as in ich (German), g (a sound found also in the
Sioux language) pronounced like the Arabic ghaim, a ghr sound; tc like
ch in church, n like the French nasal n in bon.
man (or men)
a big man
kflttini tcu
si tt a mika
my, thy, his father
ittra, nittra, mittrii
my mother
my son
thy son
Bull's Head's son
ilgatsi magala
elder brother
younger brother
Indians    (prairie
Indians (probably of
Tinne nation),
my head
thy head
Bull's Head's head
ilg&tsi mitsitsina
my eye
my nose
sit si
my arm
my leg
my, thy, his hand
s'illa, nilla, milla
my foot
my heart
my blood
my friend
a small house
natsiga sitla
small ditto
asrfi, sitla
my knife
thy knife
his knife
maskiskla -
pipe       [pouch
his tobacco
natisgani MskhL
in&gii 250
- tsinnis
next winter
klika sasskahe
last winter (snow)
it is snowing
the wind is blowing
it is cold
it is warm
it is raining
well or spring
the KockyMoun-
stone        [tains
a pine tree
a big tree
itci tcu
a small tree
itci sitla
a log of wood
meat, flesh
dog, klih
dogs, klikah
my dog
sllltsa klih
my dog or horse
isklih hanimaka
my mare
hanimaka sil'itsa
hanimaka haideklishi
a black ox
haideklishi, di'skashi
the black elk
pig (big dog)
klika tcu
| sittrana
netsokassi ;
agligah (klikkazah)
akiye (akinna)
trafiki (traanah)
didji (dizhna)
black j;
God (the Creator)
„   (our Father)
dikabatsi dikala
' kli'kkumitan
it is good
it is not good
»     »     »
eighteen •
clashdedj imitafi
he is dead
klikuanmitan   ..
; teig6
akadde egligimitan
„      ekamitaii
„     etrankimitan
who is it ? 1
„     edijimitan
far off
here .
kostrate ON
THE  NORTH-WESTERN  TRIBES  OF  CANADA.                     251
what is that ?
tataita? tata . . .
?         seventy                t'cistcidi'nni
eighty                    clashdedjde
nakkodikaa or ekiatsi      ninety                  klakuhidinna
white man
one hundred         konisnante
I walk                  sinna nishelkh
sinni, sinna . . .
thou walkest        ninna kiyelkh
ninn'ila, ninna . .
he walks               yiyelkh
atigan'itta, in'iila
I am asleep           sinna nista
he is asleep          sitti
thou art asleep
ninna nitta
Is it your knife ?
ni massa iah ?
I love him
sinna tsit to midisi
you love him
ninna tsit t6 midininni
he loves him
tsitto midininni
I love it
tsitto midisi
I do not love it
totsitto midisi
two men
akiye k'attini.
two women
ak'iye tsikdah
one dog
klih klikazah
the boy runs
sitta kahilkla
the dog runs
the dogs run
klikah nilkla (?)
one dog runs
klih klikazah nilkla
I run
sinna kaniskla
thou runnest
ninna 6kanilkla
he runs
I arrive
sinna nanishra
ninna enahieila
. ifiiila enanikatihl
name nanieigahtik (?)
kisalnata naniesaliieila or nanaltaitila (?)
he rides
I smoke
you smoke
he smokes
itotila (or does he smoke ?)
the Blackfoot smokes
katci itotila
we smoke
they smoke
I smoked yesterday
ilkha sihiis16te
I shall smoke to
n .ekiatsi.sin ita isto
he will smoke tc
ekiatsi ita isto
I will look for them to-morrow
ekiatsi makOgidisi
.   I drive them home
if he goes he will see you
itsitlya ti ktca
if I go you will
see me
. cnitsitiya ti nistca B
king, big chief
Akitsi nakawa
go home
come in
my house is good
my horses are good
it is not good
to makanilli
give it to me
sahanaha (or t&stfiiaj ;>
he gave it to me
come here
be quick
a wut ta
do not be afraid
to minna nldji
I am hungry
I am sick
I am very sick
tigga sakfitila
are you sick 1
nokatiia lah 1
he is not sick
to makutila
he is tired
istastca 252
REPORT—1 888.
he is very tired
he is not tired
are you not tired 1
where have you been ?
what is your name ?
I don't know
I don't understand
do you understand
I have none
tigga ists'istca
to istastca
to stanist caki lah 1
astakotci disiya ?
tatanisilta ?
t6 nidistci
ni ditcaki lah ?
Notes on the Language.
It will be noted in the above vocabulary—
1. That the first, second, and third persons of the personal pronoun
appear to be sinna, ninna, iniila ; when used as possessives with a noun
si ..., ni . . ., ma . . .; and when governing a verb (e.g., to smoke, see
yocab.), si . . ., ni . . . ., i. . . . It appears, however, from the various
verbs given in the vocabulary, that (if correctly obtained) there must be
a great variation in the mode of forming the persons ; and this, I expect,
is due to their belonging to distinct paradigms.
2. The negative appears to be to prefixed to the verb. The Blackfeet
Indians prefix mat to the verb, and follow it by ats. Ojibways prefix
Jeawm, and end the verb with si. The Sioux simply use shni after the
verb.    Crees prefix nS/m&.
3. The interrogative particle appears to be kilah, or lah after the
verb. Blackfeet express this by kat before the verb and pa after it.
Ojibways by na, Crees by tci, Sioux by he—all after the verb.
4. The numerals in this language are rather puzzling. There appears
to be a double set. Kositd was given me as 5 ; yet 15 was wiltanmitan;
and 50 took again the first form, kositate. So with 16: kostrani is 6 ;
wistanmitan, 16; kostrate, 60. I notice also that the word for 6 seems to
be an extension of the word for 3, and the word for 8 an extension of the
word for 4. 10 seems to stand alone, the endings for the ' teens'
being mitan, which seems to have nothing to do with kunisnan. It
seems curious also that the ' teen-ending ' should be continued through
the ' ties'; twenty-one would seem to be expressed in Sarcee as 10 + 11;
but this is merely a surmise of mine, and if I knew more of the language
I could probably explain these seeming irregularities. I may mention
here, in connection with this, that the Ojibways count 1 to 5 with distinct
words, then seem to begin 1, 2 again with the ending waswi from 6 tc 10.
Ojibways and Crees have almost the same words for the numbers 1 to 6,
entirely different words for 7, 8, 9, and are nearly the same again for 10
and 20.
5. The plural of the noun appears to be ika or a. There does not
appear to be any distinction made in the plural endings between animate
and inanimate objects.
6. There does not appear to be any distinction made in the first
person plural of the verb between ' we exclusive of the party addressed'
and ' we inclusive.' In these two points (5 and 6) there is a decided
divergence from languages of the Algonkin stock, and a leaning towards
the Siouan.
7. Ittra, ninna, it seems, mean—the first, \ father,' or ' my father,' the
second I mother,' or ' my mother,' the possessive pronoun not being used
in the first person for nouns of near relationship
8. The adjective follows the noun, the same as in the Sioux.
9. In the foregoing 260 words and sentences I do not recognise one-
word as similar to any word in any other Indian language with which I
am familiar. But I have never before examined any of the ' Tinneh T
or Athabascan stock. I might, perhaps, except ninna, ni. .. , the second
person of the pronoun, which is analogous to niye, ni . . . of the Siouan
10. The sign of the past tense may be te, and of the future ita (see
smoke in vocab.), but of this I cannot be sure.
11. The Sarcees seem to keep their lips parted while speaking, and
the accent is generally on the last syllable of the word. The language
has rather a clicking,  ' slishing ' sound.
12. In inflecting some of the verbs I have introduced the personal
pronouns, but I imagine their presence is not necessary except fo?
emphasis. •
Notes by Mr. H. Hale on the foregoing Report.
Mr. Wilson's report on the Sarcees is specially valuable as being the
only detailed account we possess of this interesting branch of the great
Tinneh or Athabascan family. Some information concerning the tribe
has been given incidentally by various writers, including Sir Alexander
Mackenzie, Umfreville, and Petitot, but no particular description of the
people has been heretofore published. It has been known merely that
they spoke a dialect of the Tinneh language, and that they lived in close
alliance with the Blackfoot tribes.
The Tinneh family, or stock, has attracted much attention from
ethnologists, partly from the peculiar character of its members and
partly from its wide diffusion, in which respect, as Mr. H. H. Bancroft
has observed, it may be compared with the Aryan and Semitic families
of the Old World. It occupies the whole northern portion of the American
continent, from Hudson Bay to the Rocky Mountains, except the coasts,
which belong to the Eskimo. Tinneh tribes also possess the interior of
Alaska and British Columbia. Other scattered bands—Umpquas,
Tlatskanais, and Kwalhioquas—are found in Oregon. The Hoopas and
some smaller tribes live in Northern California. Thence, spreading eastward, Tinneh tribes, under various designations—Navahoes (or Navajos),
Apaches, Lipanes, Pelones, Tontos, and others—are widely diffused over
Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and the northern provinces of the Mexican
The best account of the Northern Tinneh, east of the Rocky Mountains,
is found in the introductory portion of the ' Dictionnaire de la langue
Dene-Dindjie ' of the eminent missionary-philologist, the Abbe Petitot,
who resided many years among them, and studied their languages,
customs, and traditions with much care. In his list of the tribes belonging-
to this portion of the stock he makes a division styled mountaineers;
(Montagnards), possessing the country on both sides of the Rocky
Mountains. The southernmost tribe of this division, on the east side of
the mountains, is the Tsa-ttinne, a name which he renders ' dwellers among-
the beavers.' The name is derived from tsa, beaver (which has various
other dialectical forms, tso, sa, za, and so), and tinne (otherwise tenne, tena,
atena, tunneh, dene, danneh, dindjie", &c), the word for 'man' in the
different dialects. M. Petitot describes the Tsa-ttinne, or 'Beaver
Indians,' as comprising two septs—a northern tribe, who hunt along the 254
Peace River, and a southern, who dwell about the head-waters of the
North Saskatchewan, towards the Rocky Mountains. The latter, he says,
are the Sards, who have separated themselves from the northern band.
The tribal name of Sotenna, which Mr. Wilson obtained from the Sarcees,
is evidently a dialectical variation of M. Petitot's Tsa-ttinne.
It has been supposed that the separation of the Sarcees from their..
Tinneh kindred, followed by their union with the Blackfeet, was the
result of dissensions among the Tinneh tribes. But the information |
obtained by Mr. Wilson shows that this idea was not well founded. The
separation is now ascribed by the Sarcees to a superstitious panic, but
very probably resulted merely from the natural desire of their forefathers
to find a better country and climate. Their southward advance brought
them in contact with the Blackfeet, with whom they confederated, not
against their Tinneh kindred, as had been supposed, but against the Crees,
who have from time immemorial been the common enemies of the Tinneh
and Blackfoot tribes.
The legend of the deluge, which Mr. Wilson obtained, is given by^
M. Petitot in a slightly different form, which on some accounts is worthy
of notice.    In early times, we are told, there was a ' deluge of snow ' in
September.    This was changed to a flood of water by the act of ' the
mouse,' an important character in the mythology of some of the Tinneh
tribes, being regarded as ' the symbol or genius: of death.'    He pierced
the skin-bag in which 'the heat' was contained, and the snow was forthwith melted.    The flood quickly rose above the mountains and drowned
the whole human race except  one  old man,  who  had  foreseen the j
catastrophe and had vainly warned his neighbours.    He had made for j
himself a large canoe, in which he floated, gathering on it all the animals j
he met.    After a time he ordered several of these animals to dive and |
seek for earth.    These were the beaver, the otter, the musk-rat, and the
arctic duck.     According to this version of the story, it was neither the
beaver nor the musk-rat that brought up the earth, but the duck.    Thi™
morsel of earth was extended by the breath of the old man, who blew
upon it until it became an immense island, on which he placed succes-ff
sively, during six days, all the animals, and finally disembarked himself. 1
This story is evidently made up from various sources.    The skin-bagl
of heat bitten through by the mouse seems to be a genuine Tinnehj
invention.    The diving of the animals, with the formation of the new
earth, is a well-known creation myth of the Algonkin and Iroquois tribes;
and the  ' six  days' are  probably a late addition   derived from  the
missionary teachings.   An inquirer among the Indian tribes is constantly
coming across such composite myths, which require careful study and
Other observers agree with Mr. Wilson in regarding the Northern
Tinneh tribes as inferior in intelligence to the neighbouring Indians of
other stocks.    This is doubtless a just view.    The inferiority, however,
would seem to be not from any natural deficiency, but rather the resuihi
of the very unfavourable conditions under which the former are con4l
demned to live.    Not much can be  expected  from bands  of widelvV
scattered nomads, often famine-stricken, wandering over a barren region |
under inclement skies.     In better   surroundings their   good   naturajl
endowments become apparent.    The Hoopas of California display mucHF
intelligence and energy.    Mr. Stephen Powers, in his account of thJ
' Tribes of California,' published by the American Bureau of Ethnology, ON THE  NORTH-WESTERN TRIBES OF  CANADA.
speaks of the Hoopas with much admiration, and styles them 'the
Romans of Northern California'; he states that they had reduced most
of the surrounding tribes to a condition of semi-vassalage. Mr. J. P.
Dunn, an able and experienced writer, in his recent work,' The Massacres
of the Mountains,' describes the Navahoes as the most interesting of all
the western tribes. They area peaceful, pastoral, and agricultural people,
remarkable for their industry and for their ingenuity in various manufactures. Their women weave excellent blankets, which, he says, ' have
been the wonder and admiration of civilised people for many years. They
are very thick, and so closely woven that a first-class one is practically
water-tight, requiring five or six hours to be soaked through.' They
make pottery, and ' have numerous silversmiths, who work cunningly in
that metal.' Their women are well treated, are consulted in all bargains,
and hold their own property independently. In 1884 the tribe numbered
17,000 souls, cultivated 15,000 acres of land, raised 220,000 bushels of
maize and 21,000 bushels of wheat; they had 35,000 horses and 1,000,000
sheep. It has seemed proper to mention these facts as evidence that
the Indians who inhabit so large a portion of British America, and whose
descendants are probably destined to hold much of it permanently, belong
to a stock which, under favouring circumstances, displays a good aptitude
for civilisation.
M. Petitot, it should be observed, speaks of the Sarcee language as
forming a connecting link between the languages of the northern and
southern Tinneh tribes. Mr. Wilson's vocabulary, though taken under
many disadvantages, will doubtless be found extensive enough to afford
useful data to philologists in classifying the idioms of this important family.
The Committee ask for reappointment, with a renewal of the grant.
Report of the Corresponding Societies Committee, consisting of Mr.
Francis Galton (Chairman), Professor A. W. Williamson, Sir
Douglas G-alton, Professor Boyd Dawkins, Sir Rawson Rawson,
Dr. J. G-. Garson, Dr. J. Evans, Mr. J. Hopkinson, Professor R.
Meldola (Secretary), Mr. W. Whitaker, Mr. G. J. Symons,
General Pitt-Rivers, Mr. W. Topley, Mr. H. G. Fordham, and
Mr. William White.
The Corresponding Societies Committee of the British Association beg
to report to the General Committee that the Conferences of Delegates
were held on Thursday, September 1, and Tuesday, September 6, 1887,
at 3.30 p.m., in the Court Room of Owens College.
The following Delegates were nominated for the Manchester meeting:—
Mr. Thomas Lister
Eev. H. H. Winwood, M.A., F.G.S.
Mr. William Gray, M.R.LA. fe;   .
Mr. W. P. Marshall, M.Inst.C.E.   .
Rev. H. W. Crosskey, LL.D., F.G.S.
Mr. Sydney Young, D.Sc.
Mr. Horace Brown, F.G.S., F.C.S..
Barnsley Naturalists' Society.
Bath Natural History and Antiquarian
Field Club.
Belfast Naturalists' Field Club.
Birmingham Natural History and Microscopical Society.
Birmingham Philosophical Society.
Bristol Naturalists' Society.
Burton-on-Trent Natural History and
Archaeological Society.


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