HE Indians were formerly lords of the soil we now occupy, and obtained a subsistence principally by hunting and fishing.
They generally lived in villages, containing from fifty to five hundred families. Their houses, called wigwams, were usually constructed of poles, one end being driven into the ground, and the other bent over so as to meet another fastened in like manner; both being joined together at the top, and covered with the bark of trees. Small holes were left open for windows, which were closed in bad weather with a piece of bark. They made their fire in the centre of the wigwam, leaving a small hole for a chimney in the top of the roof.
They had no chairs, but sat upon skins, or mats, spread upon the ground, which also served them for beds. Their clothes were principally made of the skins of animals, which in winter were sewed together with the fur side turned inwards.
The Indians were very fond of trinkets and ornaments, and often decorated their heads with feathers, while fine polished shells were suspended from their ears.
A PAWNEE BRAVE.
HE following anecdote is related of a Pawnee brave, or warrior, (son of Red Knife.)
At the age of twenty-one, the heroic deeds of this brave had acquired for him in his nation the rank of the bravest of the braves. The savage practice of torturing and burning to death their prisoners existed in this nation. An unfortunate female of the Paduca nation, taken in war, was destined to this horrid death.
Just when the funeral pile was to be kindled, this young warrior, having unnoticed prepared two fleet horses, with the necessary provisions, sprang from his seat, liberated the victim, seized her in his arms, placed her on one of the horses, mounted the other himself, and made the utmost speed toward the nation and friends of the captive! The multitude, dumb and nerveless, made no effort to rescue their victim from her deliverer. They viewed it as the immediate act of the Great Spirit, submitted to it without a murmur, and quietly retired to their village.
S an Indian was straying through a village on the Kennebec, he passed a gentleman standing at his store door, and begged a piece of tobacco. The person stepped back, and selected a generous piece, for which he received a gruff “tank you,” and thought no more of the affair. Three or four months afterwards, he was surprised at an Indian’s coming into the store and presenting him with a beautiful miniature birch canoe, painted and furnished with paddles to correspond. On asking the meaning of it, he was told, “Indian no forget; you give me tobacco; me make this for you.” This man’s gratitude for a trifling favor had led him to bestow more labor on his present than would have purchased him many pounds of his favorite weed.
N his return home to his hut one day, an Indian discovered that his venison, which had been hung up to dry, had been stolen. After going some distance, he met some persons, of whom he inquired if they had seen a little, old, white man, with a short gun, and accompanied by a small dog with a bob-tail....