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festive ceremony called the medicine dance.' It is a religious ceremony; and it forms a striking addition to the evidence of facts, that it is in the essence of false religions to require vice as a part of their ritual.
This consecration ceremony is a formal institute of sanctioned public prostitution. Away with that vile cant of pretended philosophy, that all religions are acceptable to the supreme Lord of the world.
There is another ceremony denominated the 'buffaloe dance, which must involve some certain measure of superstition, as it is celebrated in order, professedly at least, to bring, by some unintelligible agency, a plenty of buffaloe into the neighbourhood, after they have become scarce. The description of it,' say
• our Authors, is not a little ludicrous ;' an epithet which betrays, we think, not a little depravation of moral perception, in being applied to an exhibition so abominably gross. A rudely incorrect Latin is employed to describe it, and that stately language needs not apprehend being ever summoned on a much dirtier service.
It is a curious fact, though it has its parallel in many other barbarous communities, that among a tribe that we should naturally expect to find nearly all on a level in point of superstition, there are nevertheless some who are knowing enough to make dupes of the rest.
“The medicine stone is the great oracle of the Mandans, and whatever, it announces is believed with implicit confidence. Every spring, and on some occasions during the summer, a deputation visits the sacred spot, where there is a thick porous stone, twenty feet in circumference, with a smooth surface. Having reached the place the ceremony of smoking to it is performed by the deputies, who alternately take a whiff themselves, and then present the pipe to the stone; after this they retire to an adjoining wood for the night, during which it may safely be presumed that all the embassy do not sleep; and in the morning they read the destinies of the nation in the white marks on the stone, which those who made them are at no loss to decypher. The Minnetarees have a stone of the same kind which has the same influence over the nation.'
There is a pleasing instance or two of affectionate kindness in these savages, counterpoised by instances of flagrant bara barity. The mention of a visit from the grand chief of the MinDetarees, introduces a story of one of his wives having eloped with a paramour, whose desertion of her compelled her to take refuge in her father's house. Thither the offended husband Went, and found her sitting near the fire.
"Without noticing his wife he began to smoke with the father ; when they were joined by the old men of the village, who knowing his temper, had followed in hopes of appeasing him. He continued to smoke quietly with them, till rising to return, he took his wife by
the hair, led her as far as the door, and with a single stroke of his tomahawk put her to death before her father's eyes: then turning fiercely upon the spectators, he said that if any of her relations wished to avenge her, they might always find him at his lodge.'
This hideous transaction perhaps hardly violated the rule of right as admitted among these spectators; for among the Mandans, at least, according to our Authors, the simple fact of a wife's running away from her bushand, gives him the right to put her to death. Such an infliction for such a cause, was in one instance only just prevented by the interference of the travellers. But the reader is not to fancy that these severities indicate the establishment of a high standard of conjugal morality among these rigorous justiciaries. There is nothing they hold in slighter esteem; they most willingly make a traffic of the persons of their wives and sisters, and also make temporary presents of them where they are disposed to oblige. But theirs must be the gain or the merit of the complaisance; and great is their indignation and sense of wrong, if the females presume of their own authority to dispose of themselves in such a way. Indeed, it is just the old story of lords and slaves, of owners and disposable property. The imposition of drudgery is inseparable from the degraded estimate; and we are repeatedly told of one or other chief bringing in a present of meat, some times a heavy one, on the back of his squaw,' himself walking much at his ease, and no doubt in all the upright dignity of maphood.
During some parts of the winter the party were threatened very seriously by the departure of the game from the neighbourhood, with a scarcity of provisions. At these times one of their best resources was in the ingenuity and activity of their blacksmith, whose manufactures, being irresistibly tempting, and indeed many of them very valuable to the Indians, had the effect of extracting a very considerable portion of their hoards of Indian corn, which, without some strong temptation, they bring out with reluctance, it being chiefly intended as a resource for emergencies.
The fort was in the 48th degree of latitude. The cold was sometimes quite formidable, the thermometer being in one or two instances at more than seventy degrees below the -freezing point. To these rigours the Indians manifest the most astonishing insensibility. One night, when the cold was of the intensity bere mentioned, an Indian who had not been able to reach the fort, slept on the snow, in a slight dress, and without a fire, and was never the worse. A boy, indeed, in the same predicament, had his feet so frost-bitten, that he afterwards jost his toes. We are evep still more surprised at the hardihood evinced by the men of the expedition themselves, in sustaining in their hunting excursions, the nocturnal severities of the climate.
Many persons of distinction were necessarily seen during the sojourn at this station ; and it is due to the honour of language and letters to record some of their names, with the interpretation, when it is given.--Wasashaco (Brave Man), Stageaunja (Big Blue Eyes), Pawnawneah-, pahbe (Struck by the Pawnee), Aweawechache (Half Man), Untongasabaw (Black Buffaloe), Tartongawaka (Buffaloe Medicine), Shotahawrora (Coal), Tetuckopinreha (White Buffaloe robe unfolded), Bellahsara, Kakawissassa (Lighting Crow), Shahakohopinnee (Little Wolf's Medicine), Abrattanamockshe (Wolfian Chief), Manbucksheahokeah (Seeing Spake), Mahpahpaparapassatoo (Horned Wesel).
Previously to their departure they packed up a number of curiosities to be sent to the President of the United States ; and among them was a buffaloe robe on which was painted a battle which had been fought eight years before, between the Sioux and Ricaras on the one side, and the Mandans and Minnetarees on the other: We combatants are represented on horseback.
On the 7th of April they sat off in high spirits, to the number of thirty-two persons, one of these being the Indian wife of their French interpreter, with an infant which had been born at the fort.
Near the place which they note as the remotest point to which any white man had ever been known to ascend the river, they observed in the cliffs many thick strata of carbonated wood; saw one of these eliffs or bluffs on fire in different parts, and throwing out a sulphureous smoke; perceived in the neighbouring bills unquestionable marks of a volcanie state in some former age; and, when clear of these hills, had on either hand a plain bounded only by the horizon, and without a tree or shrub, except in such swampy spots as had defied the conlagrations. Many of the streams were impregnated with salt. There were various deserted Indian camps.
Near one of these was a seaffold about seven feet high, on which were two
sleds with their harness, and under it the body of a female, carefully wrapped in several dressed buffaloe skins; near it
lay a bag made of buffaloe skin, containing a pair of mocs casins, some red and blue paint, beaver's nails, scrapers for dressing hides, some dried roots, several plaits of sweet grass, and a small quantity of Mandan tobacco. These things, as well as the body itself, had probably fallen down by accident, as the custom is to place them on the scaffold. At a little dissance was the body of a dog not yet decayed, who had met Vol. V. N.S.
this reward for having dragged thus far in the sled the corpse of his mistress, to whom, according to the Indian usage, he had been sacrificed.'
Beyond the confluence of the Yellowstone river, a noble stream, with the Missouri, the banks and sandbars were, in one of the stages, covered with a white incrustation of salt-like frost. In this region they had immense quantities of game, and had some perilous rencounters with white and brown bears, whose astonishing tenacity of life renders their ferocity and strength doubly formidable. Our English gentlemen of the field would doubtless be much at their ease in such a predicament as the following:
• Towards evening the men in the hindmost canoes discovered a large brown bear lying in the open grounds, about three hundred paces from the river : six of them, all good hunters, immediately went to attack him; and concealing themselves by a small eminence, came unperceived within forty paces of him. Four of the hunters now fired, and each lodged a ball in his body, two of them directly through the lungs. The furious animal sprang up and ran openmouthed at them; as he came near, the two hunters who had reserved their fire gave him two wounds, one of which breaking his shoulder, retarded his motion for a moment; but before they could reload he was so near them that they were obliged to run into the ríver, and before they reached it he had almost overtaken them : two jumped into the canoe ; the other four separated, and concealing themselves in the willows fired as fast as each could reload: they struck him several times, but instead of weakening the monster, each shot seemed only to direct him towards the hunter, till at last he pursued two of them so closely, that they threw aside their guns and pouches, and jumped down a perpendicular precipice of twenty feet into the river. The bear sprang after them, and was within a few feet of the hindmost, when one of the hunters on the shore shot him in the head and finally killed him : they dragged him to the shore, and found that eight balls had passed through him in different directions.'
In another instance one of these brown bears survived twenty minutes, and swam to a sand-bar in the river, notwithstanding five balls through the lungs, and other wounds. He is stated to have weighed between five and six hundred pounds at the least, and to have measured eight feet seven inches and a half
from the nose to the extremity of the hind feet, five feet ten ' inches and a half round the breast, three feet eleven inches round the neck, one foot eleven inches round the middle of • the fore leg; and his talons, five on each foot, were four
inches and three eighths in length.' Much about the same time one of the men came running breathless and speechless to the river, having been chased half a mile by a brown bear which
he had shot through the centre of the lungs. A party landed and tracked him by the blood to a place more than a mile from where he had stopped in the pursuit of the man.
Two hours, at least, after he had received the wound, they found him alive, lying in a kind of bed or grave which he had dug for himself with his talons, in the earth, two feet deep and five feet long.
The notice of the remains of a vast number of the carcases of buffaloes lying by the edge of the river, at the foot of a precipice a hundred and twenty feet high, introduces a very curious description of a most murderous contrivance of the Indians, for obtaining in the speediest way, for themselves and the wolves, a grand revel in carnage. An Indian, selected for his swiftness and dexterity, is disguised in a buffalo skin, with the horns and ears disposed in a way to resemble their appearance in the living animal. He places himself between the river, where the bank is a precipice, and any herd of buffaloes con-' veniently near it, the other Indians at the same time contriving to get behind and ou both sides of the herd. The buffaloes suddenly assailed thus on three sides, run of course in the direction of the decoy, who runs before them to the precipice, on reaching which he suddenly betakes himself to some crevice previously fixed on. • The herd being thus brought to the brink
of the precipice, it is in vain for the foremost to attempt to ' retreat or even stop ; they are pressed on by the hindmost 'rank, who seeing no dangers but from the bunters, goad on 'those before them till the whole are precipitated, and the shore is strewed with their dead bodies.' Sometimes the treacherous Indian proves mistaken as to the safety of bis position, and is involved in the destruction.
On one of these cliffs Captain Lewis and one of his men, when quite innocent of any such devices of massacre, had a most critically narrow escape with their lives. From the slipperiness of the wet soil the Captain slid very near the edge; but the man, at some distance from him, actually lay with half of his body over the edge. The Captain could not give him any direct assistance, but displayed an admirable presence of mind in directing him how to save and recover hiinself.
There is a fine description of what must have been a marvellously striking scene to behold; the nearly perpendicular cliffs, of from two to three hundred feet high, presenting, over the whole face, an immense variety of compartments and figures, among which the imagination descries an endless diversity of architectural and sculptural forms, some entire, and some mu.. tilated and in ruin. “A still stranger phenomenon perbaps is that of vast basaltic walls, a hundred feet high, as thick at