Search just our sites by using our customised site search engine

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Canadian Savage Folk
Chapter VII. On the Trail


War in the congenial occupation of the red man as it is the delight of the white man. On the field of battle there is an outlet for ambition, and courage is seen to advantage. Every nation has its distinctive uniform and implements of warfare as well as its military tactics, and the red race is not lacking in these elements of pride and strength. The rude flint-headed arrow gave place to the flint-lock gun, and this to the later inventions of civilized life, until to-day the natives of the plains are well armed with Snider rifles, and boast of their prowess in battle. During the second Riel Rebellion the Government stopped the sale of ammunition to the western Indians, •and instead of resorting to the flint arrow-head, they made the heads of their arrows from iron hoops. I have seen the old men in the camps busily engaged in this work while the young men were absent as spies.

Flint arrow-heads have been found in great abundance in the Province of Ontario, less frequently in Manitoba and the Territories, and seldom have they been discovered in British Columbia. Only one specimen of a chipped arrow-head or spear-head having been found on the Queen Charlotte Islands, and the Haidas, to whom it was shown, expressed surprise, as they said they had never seen or heard of such a thing before. Instead of donning bright colored garments to distinguish them in the field of battle, every vestage of clothing is discarded except the breech-cloth, moccasins and war bonnet. The warrior paints his body in a fantastic fashion, and there is something appalling to the eye of civilized man on beholding a body of painted savages. The war paint is significant. The western Indians fought single-handed on the prairie under the direction of the war chief or leader of the war party, spending no time in the erection of works of defence; but upon the plain, in a river bottom or ravine, or in any place where the combatants met they engaged in battle. In the eastern provinces it was different, as the natives erected strong earthworks of defence, where they were safe from the attacks of their foes.

Parkman, basing his statements upon Lafitau, says, in reference to the works of defence erected by the Iroquois: "Their dwellings and works of defence were far from contemptible, either in their dimensions or in their structure; and though by the several attacks of the French, and especially by the invasion of De Nouville in 1687, and of Frontenac nine years later, their fortified towns were levelled to the earth, never again to reappear ; yet, in the works of Champlain and other early writers, we find abundant evidence of their pristine condition. Along the banks of the Mohawk, among the hills and hollows of Onondaga, in the forests of Oneida and Cayuga, on the romantic shores of Seneca Lake and the rich borders of the Genesee, surrounded by waving maize fields, and encircled from afar by the green margin of the forest, stood the ancient strongholds of the confederacy. The clustering dwellings were encompassed by palisades, in single, double or triple rows, pierced with loopholes, furnished with platforms within for the convenience of the defenders, with magazines of stones to hurl upon the heads of the enemy, and with water conductors to extinguish any fire which might be kindled from without. The area which these defences enclosed was often several acres in extent, and the dwellings ranged in order within were sometimes more than a hundred feet in length."2 The plan of the Iroquois villages was usually circular or oval, and in one instance Frontenac found an Onondaga village built in an oblong form, with four bastions, having a wall formed of three rows of palisades, the outer row being forty or fifty feet high. The bastions were doubtless erected upon the advice of some European friend.

War was declared by a harangue to the assembled natives and the delivery of an axe, from which arose no doubt the figurative expression of "digging up the hatchet." A painted hatchet was sometimes used to express strong determination to fight, and to notify to their enemies their bitter enmity and resolution to destroy. It is the object of war to destroy, and the red man will seek to gain the complete overthrow of his foes by any strategy, without incurring any needless risks. He believes that all means are honorable, and he will strive to circumvent and subdue his adversary by any kind of artifice.

The causes of war between the native tribes and between the red and white races are similar to those among civilized races. The invasion of territory, hunting upon the grounds claimed by another tribe, the killing of a native in cold blood, the breaking of treaties, and the compulsory removal of the Indians (as in the case of the Nez Perces), the wholesale robbery of the Indians by the agents of the Government, and their harsh treatment by white men, the hatred of the tribes and feuds among themselves, unfulfilled promises by Government officials and the bad influence of immoral white men. The Minnesota and Custer massacres and the Riel Rebellion can be traced to some of these causes. War is not a mere pastime even among savages, for there must be some pretext, and sometimes it is a poor one, before the tribes will go on the warpath

Among the western tribes of our Dominion there are peace chiefs and war chiefs, the former performing the duties of civil head of the tribe, and the latter assuming the responsibilities of his office in times of war. This important military officer is elected on account of his bravery and success, and his influence is almost unlimited among his people. White Calf, the war chief of the Blood Indians, is a typical Indian, hating the language, customs and religion of the white men. As lie sees the gradual decrease of his people, and their dependence upon the Government for support since the departure of the buffalo, and the encroachments and haughty spirit of the white men, remembering the freedom of the old hunting days and the valor of the young men, and seeing them transformed into a band of peaceful farmers, he mourns the loss of the martial spirit and pristine liberty, and longs for the return of the heroic days. The war chief is the native general, yet he is not absolute, for even a chief must obey the laws of they tribe.

It was necessary to secure allies to assist the tribes in a general war, and for the purpose of securing them, messengers were sent by the eastern tribes to the distant tribes, bearing the long, and broad war-belt of wampum and the red-stained tomahawk. Visiting each tribe, the sachems and old men assembled in council, when the chief of the embassy threw down the tomahawk on the ground and delivered the speech which he had been instructed to make. When the assemblage were in favor of war the belt of wampum was accepted and the tomahawk snatched up as a token of their pledge. The natives, of the west sent their messengers with tobacco, and upon addressing the council of the tribe visited, when the warriors decided to unite in war the tobacco was accepted. Red Crow, the peace chief of the Blood Indians, refused the tobacco offered him by the messengers of the rebels during the Riel Rebellion, and when Pakan, chief of the Crees, was importuned by the messengers of Big Bear to accept the tobacco and join the rebels, he shot one of the messengers dead. Large war parties were not as likely to be successful as small bodies of men, owing to their lack of discipline, individual liberty and mode of action. The war chief could not punish those who wished to stay at home, as they were essentially volunteers in the service, and were bound to him by a moral tie and an interest in the enterprise. Pride and jealousy sometimes broke out in feuds among his followers, or among the different tribes engaged as allies, and then desertions were frequent. The native warrior hates subordination, and delights.

to gain power by means of personal bravery, so that his individuality is a burner to concerted action, and sometimes before the country of the enemy is reached discord has divided the bands, and a remnant of the host is left to contend against the foe.

When war has been declared the warriors spend a few days singing war songs, boasting of their valor, calling upon their gods to help them, and getting their accoutrements in readiness. They engage in a war dance, feasting, dancing, singing and praying; and then with their bodies painted they advance toward the enemy's country regardless of order. Usually they depart at night. If the distance is long they will travel by day and rest at night, but should there be any danger they will travel cautiously at night and rest during the day. The western natives always take care to go upon the warpath when there is no snow on the ground, lest they should be tracked, and in a season when there is good feed for their horses. If there is any chance of defeat they will make arrangements for the safety of their women and children. There is no likelihood of another Indian war, as there is no refuge for the helpless folks of the camps.

Some of the natives are adepts at tracking on the prairie, being able to tell by signs around the camping place the number of white men and Indians in the party, whether they are hostile or' friendly, and even the names of the persons known to them. They are experts also at concealing their tracks by crossing, recrossing and returning upon the prints made by the moccasin or horse-hoof, so as to baffle and elude their pursuers, even when the snow is on the ground. The Iroquois chiefs wore tall plumes, and arrayed themselves in times of war in bucklers and breastplates made of cedar wood, covered with interwoven thongs of hide; and the Hurons carried large shields, wore greaves for the legs and cuirasses made of twigs interwoven with cords. The scalp lock is a thing of the past among the western warriors, if they ever wore it, and defensive armour is unknown to them. Their only defence is the song and divination of the medicine man and the amulet worn on the person.

Stealing cautiously into the camp of the enemy, the single warrior enters a lodge, stirs the dying embers of the tin4 and quietly scans the sleeping occupants. Suddenly dealing a death-thrust to each of his victims and securing the bleeding scalps, he hurries from the scene of destruction and, elated at his success, is lost in the darkness. From our standpoint of military virtue there is no exhibition of courage, but rather an evidence of cowardice in such a dastardly feat; but the code of honor 011 the plains agrees with their method of fighting, which implies a wariness and coolness in the presence of danger and the defeat of their enemies by stratagem.*

Rushing suddenly upon their foes in battle, the war-whoop is given, which sends a deep thrill of excitement through the camp. White men and women who have heard it when attacked by the Blackfeet have told me, that when once it is heard it will never be forgotten. It strikes terror to the hearts of the unprotected, and men brace themselves for battle as women seek a place of refuge.

It was the custom of the natives to retain some of their prisoners to find pleasure in mutilating them, and in early Canadian history, there are sad tales of cannibalism, when the Indians, even in the presence of the French soldiers, killed their enemies, cooked and eat their flesh. Sometimes they were slain after enduring excessive tortures, but after their vengeance was appeased they would spare the remainder, and distribute them among the tribes, 01* allow them to be adopted by some of the families. A young man would sometimes be chosen by a native to supply the place of a dead son, and even a woman might obtain a husband for the one deceased. The Blackfeet and Crees have always spoken with intense abhorrence of cannibalism, and whenever it has been discovered, as it has in one or two instances, through starvation, the perpetrators have been ostracised. It is singular that those children who have been captured and brought up in the camp have become deeply attached to their foster parents, and have loved intensely the customs of the people, so that it was well-nigh impossible to induce them to return to civilized life or the home of their relations. John Tanner, the scout, who spent many years in Michigan, Western Ontario and Manitoba returned to his savage haunts after tasting the pleasures of civilized life. The fascination of forest and prairie and the wild ways of the red men was stronger than the joy and comfort of civilization for this strange man as it has been for other men in later years. Adoption among the Crees lias been practised within the knowledge of men still living, as in the case of James Evans, the missionary. Having gone upon a missionary tour, his native companion accidentally shot himself, and the missionary returned to the family of the young man, and was adopted in his place, so that he was always recognized as the son of the parents of the deceased.

In times of peace, as well as war, the natives employ the art of signalling, in which they are very skilful. It is possible to see a long distance upon the prairie, and it is easy to send communications in times of distress. By means of lighted arrows shot through the air at night, a message can be sent and understood twenty miles away. The smoke of the fire can be ,so directed that it will relate its own story to anxious watchers. During the day the solitary rider will pace backward and forward upon a high bluff, or ride in a circle, or perform well-understood and significant evolutions. The single warrior will tell his tale through the sign language with his hands, or by means of his blanket, or again with a small looking-glass, he will send a flash of light across the plain, which will be easily interpreted by his people. This native system of telegraphy enables the red men to remain secluded, and yet keep one another informed on matters affecting them in times of war, by means of scouts.

When the war expedition is ended and the warriors return home, messengers are despatched when they are approaching the camp, to inform the people of their success. The war-whoop is given a certain number of times corresponding to the number of scalps taken, and with a song of victory they enter the camp. The old men, women and children go out to meet them, and with sad wails from the women who have been bereft of husbands, fathers, sons and brothers, and shouts of victory on the part of those who have not suffered, the party is honored on account of the success of the enterprise. Since the advent of the white settlers the war expeditions have been few, and have only been undertaken to recover stolen horses. Silently they departed, and then the party was composed of only a few young men. Eight young men started about 1888, for the home of the Gros Ventre Indians in the south, to recover some horses which were stolen from the Reservation of the Blood Indians. Two of them became separated from the others, and these alone returned, the rest of them being slain and scalped by their enemies. There was great excitement in the camps for a few weeks, but the Government used its influence, and by a wise compensation to the bereaved families, a war between the two tribes was averted.

It was the custom of the Algonquins to cut off the heads of their enemies, which they carricd home as trophies; and among the Indians of Nova Scotia the head was cut off and carried away and afterward scalped. The practice of scalping was in existence before the French arrived in Canada, as Jacques Cartier, in 1535, saw five scalps at Quebec, dried and stretched on hoops. Sometimes dead bodies left on the field of battle were scalped. In their anxiety to secure scalps, the conquerors did not always wait until their victims were dead, and it sometimes happened that they were only wounded slightly. Some of these persons have lived after they were scalped, which proves that scalping did not always end in death. The object of securing scalps seems not to have arisen from cruelty, but rather to give evidence of success in war. The Indian might boast in the camp of his bravery, assuring his auditors of the number of men he had slain, but there were always some who were suspicious, and believed not the statements of the young warrior. As it was not always convenient for him to secure the head of his enemy, and he could not well preserve it afterwards, the easiest way for him to substantiate his assertions was to take the scalp, which he could show to his people.6 1 have seen the lodges of half-breeds and Indians painted, having the life story of their owners depicted upon them and the scalp-locks fastened to the outside, which were tangible proofs of the military prowess of the occupants. One of my friends gave me a scalp, when it was no longer customary to hang them on the lodges, and this scalp may still be seen in the museum of the Canadian Institute, Toronto. Some of the eastern Indians were accustomed to burn their enemies at the stake, but I have never learned of this being done by the natives in the west.

During the war between the English and the French, when the Indians were engaged as allies, bounties were offered by the civilized governments for scalps, although more humane treatment afterward prevailed. Indeed, during this war some of the white soldiers outstripped the red men in their anxiety to secure the scalps of the Indians. It was an advantage to feign insanity among the natives who are superstitious on this matter, believing such persons as are so afflicted to be special favorites of the gods. Heckewelder mentions the case of a trader, named Chapman, who was made prisoner by the Indians at Detroit. Having determined to burn him alive, he was tied to the stake and the fire kindled. One of the Indians handed him a bowl of broth which was made scalding hot so as to give pleasure to the onlookers by the increased tortures of their victim. When the poor man placed it to his lips it produced intense pain, and in his anger he threw the bowl and its contents into the face of his tormentor. Instantly the crowd shouted, " He is mad ! he is mad!" and as speedily as possible the fire was extinguished and the sufferer was set at liberty. Believing in destroying their enemies in any manner, the natives resorted to treachery, getting inside of forts under the pretence of friendship, and even giving pledges of protection in time of war, only to kill their foes when they had secured the advantage. There are some notable examples of honorable dealing by chiefs and warriors, who would not stoop to such acts of meanness; but when exasperated the average Indian will not in war abide by his promises, and he cannot be trusted.

The scalp dance is a significant native institution, which has passed away. The scalp having been prepared according to the native ceremonial, was fastened to a pole, which was carried through the camp, the people dancing around it, singing wildly and uttering unearthly yells.

Upon the declaration of war black wampum belts were given by the messengers to those allies who agreed to fight, and these were pledges of unity in war, and when treaties of peace were made, belts made of white wampum were given and accepted as solemn pledges. Wampum was used by the Indians of the Eastern Provinces, especially the Six Nation Indians, but is unknown even in the traditions of the prairie tribes. At first the wampum was made of porcupine quills dyed, then of colored pieces of wood, again from the thick and blue parts of clam shells, and finally of glass beads. It was used as money by the tribes and as a pledge in solemn transactions. As late as 1844, it was extensively manufactured by the Indian women of New Jersey, who sold it to the country merchants at twelve and a half cents a string, The wampum shell beads were strung on hempen strings about a foot in length each, and one woman could make from five to ten strings a day.

At a great assembly held on July 12th, 1644, at Three Rivers, in the open square of the fort, presided over by the Governor-General, a treaty of peace was made between the Indian tribes themselves, and between the Indians and the French. There were present representatives from the Iroquois, Algonquin, Montagnais, Huron, Attikamegues and Mohawk tribes. In the middle of the open space the Iroquois planted two poles, having a cord stretched between them, upon which were placed seventeen wampum belts. Each belt was used for a specific purpose. Kiotsaeton, the famous Iroquois orator, holding the first belt of wampum, and with many significant gestures and an impressive

speech, presented it to Onontio, the Governor-General, for rescuing Tokrahenchiaron from the Hurons. The second belt was fastened around the arm of Couture, a young Frenchman, who was a prisoner among the Iroquois, as a pledge that he was set at liberty ; the fourth belt was a pledge of peace between the Iroquois and Algonquins : the fifth belt drove the enemies' canoes away : the sixth smoothed the rapids on the way to the country of the Iroquois: the eighth was to build a road ; the tenth belt, larger and finer than the other belts, proclaimed peace between the French, Algonquins and Mohawks, and as the orator addressed the assembly he took a Frenchman and an Algonquin and bound their arms together with the belt. The eleventh belt promised hospitable board to their friends, and this part of his speech closed with the suggestive sentences, " We have fish and game in plenty; our forests teem with stags, moose, deer, bears and beavers. Drive away the filthy hogs that defile your houses and feed only on filth." The twelfth belt banished all suspicions of deceitfulness which were ascribed to them, and as the orator beat the air, as if to scatter and drive away the clouds, he cried, " Let the sun and truth shine everywhere." The thirteenth and fourteenth belts were pledges of peace between the Iroquois and Hurons : the fifteenth was a justification of their treatment of the missionaries, Jogues and Bressani; and the seventeenth was a present from the mother of Honateniate, who had been kept as a hostage by the Governor-General, requesting him to set her son free.

The pipe of peace has been smoked in recent times by representatives of the tribes of the plains as a token of peaceful relations and unity, the hatchet has been buried by the eastern tribes as a pledge of friendship, and with the new conditions of existence, the progress of settlement upon the prairies, and the growing sentiments of kindness and justice, there can never again fall upon our ears the war-whoop of the savage or the boom of cannon in the Indian camp.


The arrival of prisoners in the camps is received with great rejoicings on account of the victory, and indignities are heaped upon them by the old men, women and children, and sometimes they are subjected to excessive tortures. When they are tried for their lives by the council, and they are not adopted by any persons in the camp, or are not distributed among the tribes, but are doomed to die, they may be burned at the stake, as was customary among the Iroquois and other eastern tribes, or speedily despatched by the tomahawk. Desirous of relieving the monotony of their lives and obtaining pleasure at the expense of the sufferings of the captives, a chance was oftentimes given them of saving themselves by "running the gauntlet." Hunter, in the "Memoirs of his Captivity," says that in every native village there was a prisoner's place of refuge, designated by a post uniformly painted red in times of war, planted near the council-house. Two rows of women and children armed with clubs, switches and missiles were stationed within a short •distance from the post, and the prisoners were compelled to pass between them. If they were able to run quickly and arrive in safety at the post, they were placed in charge of guards until the council decided their fate. Some were saved and became members of the tribe, but others were condemned to death. Sometimes the captives were'bound hand and foot, and burned with pieces of touchwood, or whipped severely, A brave man would taunt his captors, daring them to do their utmost to injure them, and with the death song on his lips would teach them how to die. As the prisoners ran between the ranks, it sometimes happened that some of them would intentionally slacken their pace, that they might die on the way, knowing that a more cruel fate awaited them. "The return of the Kansas with their prisoners and scalps was greeted by the squaws, as is usual on such occasions, by the most extravagant rejoicings ; while every imaginable indignity was practised on the prisoners. The rage of the relict of Kiskemas knew no bounds; she, with the rest of the squaws, particularly those who had lost any connections, and the children, whipped the prisoners with green briars and hazel switches, and threw firebrands, clubs and stones at them as they ran between their ranks to the painted post, which is a goal of safety for all who arrive at it till their fate is finally determined in a general council of the victorious warriors."9 The custom of compelling prisoners to run the gauntlet was enforced at two, if not all the mission villages in Canada down to the end of the French domination. Parkman says, "The practice was common, and must have had the consent of the priests of the mission." When Hannah Dustan and her nurse, Mary Neff, were taken prisoners by the Abenakis, as they journeyed toward a native village, after Hannah's infant had been dashed to death against a tree, the warriors amused themselves by telling the women that when they arrived at their destination, they would be stripped and made to run the gauntlet.

The Iroquois sometimes led their prisoners through the tribes embracing their confederacy, compelling them at every village to undergo this torture, and seldom did they escape without the loss of a hand, finger or eye, and many of them perished as they ran toward the goal. General Stark, when a young man, was captured by the Indians, and made to run the gauntlet. As he ran, he knocked down the nearest warrior, snatched the war-club from his hands, and used it so dexterously that he reached the goal in safety, while his companion was nearly beaten to death. During the Pontiac conspiracy some prisoners were taken and forced to follow this Indian custom. Parkman says: "The women having arranged themselves in two rows, with clubs and sticks, the prisoners were taken out, one by one, and told to run the gauntlet to Pontiac's lodge. Of sixty-six persons who were brought to the shore, sixty-four ran the gauntlet and all were killed. One of the remaining two, who had had his thigh broken in the firing from' the shore, and who was tied to his seat, and compelled to row, had became by this time so much exhausted that he could not help himself. He was thrown out of the boat and killed with clubs. The other, when directed to run for the lodge, suddenly fell upon his knees in the water, made the sign of the Qross on his forehead and breast, and darted out into the stream. An expert swimmer from the Indians followed him, and having overtaken him, seized him by the hair, and crying out, ' You seem to love water, you shall have enough of it,' he stabbed the poor fellow, who sank to ris<> no more."

In an old diary of colonial times, kept by the Rev. Christopher Hozen, who was the pastor of a small settlement of whites and Indians in Pennsylvania, there is an account of a novel race, suggestive of running the gauntlet, gotten up by the white settlers. In the spring of 1763 there were frequent quarrels between the Indians and white people, which culminated apparently in the murder of a white man named Murdock, with his wife and child. Upon the wall of the cabin of Ninpo, an Indian, was found the rude drawing of an arrow in blood, and at once suspicion rested upon him as the perpetrator of the murderous act. The pastor of the small community believed firmly in the innocence of his dusky friend, who was not a Christian, but a shrewd, industrious and affectionate red man. Sheinah, the Indian's wife, was an especial favorite of Patience, the wife of the good missionary, who taught the dusky mother domestic duties, and trained her in the use of the English language. Concerning Ninpo, the pastor writes: " The young man I believe to be as innocent as my own little child of this dreadful deed. He is too shrewd a fellow, and the last person likely to sign his name to such a work of blood. I do not think either that my townspeople really believe him guilty. But they thirst for vengeance and must have a victim." Mr. Hozen managed to put the time of trial off from month to month, while the poor man was closely guarded in the fort.

The prisoner was almost forgotten through pressure of colonial affairs, until the arrival of Judge Poindexter, a coarse, burly man, with a rough voice, who hated the Indians with intense hatred. He would have hanged Ninpo without a trial, as he did not believe in giving justice to the red skins. As the missionary remonstrated with him in relation to the Indian with his wife and child, the surly minister of justice replied, in a loud tone of voice, "Better hang her and the young cub. Stamp out a nest of snakes is my way. He is not entitled to a trial, as you know very well, pastor. He's a red skin. He has been kept there on our expense long enough. I mean to have him out and put out. of the way next week." When Mr. Hozen said, "You do not believe that he murdered Mr. Murdock?" The judge replied, " No, I don't say that I do, but he's none too good to do it. He's a worthless red devil, and I hold that the sooner we put an end to him, and all of his color, the better." One of the friends of the missionary, Seth Jarrett, knew how to manage this strange dispenser of justice, and he suggested that they might have some fun at the expense of Ninpo. The young men of the village were going to have some hurdle-races and jumping matches, and Seth proposed to the judge that the Indian be given a chance for his life, that he be allowed to run in the races, and if he should lose one he should be hung, but if he won all, he should be granted his liberty. The proposal pleased Judge Poindexter, who knew that it would suit the rough tastes of the villagers. The day of sport came round, and upon the field prepared for the contests were groups of white men and women, and one solitary Indian, namely the man who was to run for his life. The contest was hardly a fair one, as the prisoner's joints were stiffened with three month's confinement in prison. In the standing jump feat, an English youth, named George Notting, defeated the Indian by three inches, and the judge raised his rifle, when Seth interposed, remarking that he had a chance in the race. In the dispute which ensued, some of the villagers wishing to give him another chance for his life, and others willing to prolong the sport, the decision was given in favor of Ninpo. Three men stood abreast in a hundred yards race—Ninpo, John Gabberly and Abraham Cutting. The judge, supported by a group of men, stood with his rifle ready to shoot the Indian as lie ran. The runners started, Cutting ahead and Ninpo close behind. Slowly the Indian gained, and then passed Cutting, and as the people became excited, the whizz of a bullet sped close to the ear of Ninpo from Poindexter's rifle. With a bound the Indian rushed to the goal, and turning swiftly struck the judge heavily in the stomach with his head, causing the fat man to roll over on the grass amid the laughter of the spectators. It was the work of a moment for Ninpo to reach the wood, where unseen stood the missionary's wife with a horse, upon which he sprang and vanished from the presence of his persecutor. Sheinah and her child, with the shrewd and nimble Ninpo, found a home and safety in the western forests among their friends. A year afterward the murderer of Murdock was discovered to be a white man from another settlement. The bloody arrow upon the wall of the cabin was the name of Ninpo, signifying Red Arrow. The red man's ideas of the white man's laws and religion could not be elevated by hfe treatment, and some of these have been transmitted to posterity.

The western Indians enforced the custom of running the gauntlet as well as the tribes of the east. The Blackfeet were accustomed to resort to it for sport, finding pleasure in the attempts of their prisoners to reach a place of safety. One of the most striking instances which happened among the Black-feet was the thrilling experience of John Colter, a trapper, who had been a member of the Lewis and Clarke expedition. Breaking loose from the expedition at the headwaters of the Missouri, in the country inhabited by the Gros Ventre, Crow and Blackfoot Indians, he began the lonely work of a trapper with all the hardihood of this daring class of men. Meeting another trapper named Potts, a partnership was formed, and along the creeks and rivers they paddled, setting their beaver traps at the fall of night and securing them before daybreak. Hiding in the daytime and toiling during the night, they managed to elude the craftiness of the Blackfeet. These men were well versed in prairie craft and Indian customs; yet they were leading a dangerous kind of life for the sake of the peltries they could obtain. As they were paddling softly at daybreak in their canoe on a branch of the Missouri called Jefferson Fork, Colter heard the trampling of feet, and instantly gave the alarm of Indians ; but Potts assured him that it was a herd of buffalo, and they continued their journey. The banks of the river were high and precipitous, and although apprehensive of danger, there was apparent safety. Suddenly, as they were stealing cautiously along the river, they were aroused with hideous yells and war-whoops from both sides of the river. They were entreated to come on shore, and as they complied, Colter stepped out of the canoe, and Potts, when about to follow, was disarmed. Colter snatched the gun from the hands of the Indian who had taken it and gave it to Potts, who now distrusted the Blackfeet and determined to run the chance of saving himself in his canoe. Pushing it from the shore, he had not gone far when he called to his companion that he was wounded. Colter entreated him to come on shore and trust to the Indians, as the only chance of safety ; but he would not follow the instructions of his friend. Determined to pay the Indians for their craftiness, he levelled his gun and shot one of the Blackfeet dead. In a moment his body was pierced with many arrows. Colter was led away to the camp of the Blackfeet, about six miles distant, where the warriors deliberated as to the treatment of their captive. The poor man, having a slight knowledge of the language, listened intently to the schemes proposed which would give them the greatest amusement. Some of the natives were anxious to have him set as a mark 011 the prairie, at which they could test their skill in shooting. One of the chiefs, seizing the captive by the shoulder, asked him if he could run, and with the keen scent of an old trapper he knew at once the purport of the question, that he would have a chance of running for his life. Although noted among the trappers as a good runner, he felt that his life now depended upon his skill, and he informed the chief that he was a bad runner. Stripped naked, he was led out on the prairie about four hundred yards, and at the sound of the war-whoop the savages bounded after him at full speed.

Hew over the prairie with the speed which gives fear to man, and although the prairie was thickly studded with the prickly-pear cactus, which injured his feet, he left his pursuers far behind. It was six miles to the Jefferson Fork, and toward the river lie ran with might and main. Half-way across the plain the swiftest runners were scattered, and Colter, looking round for a moment, saw a single warrior about one hundred yards behind him, armed with a spear. Through the excessive exertion the blood gushed from the mouth and nostrils of Colter and streamed down his breast; still he ran on. When within a mile of the river the sound of approaching footsteps was distinctly heard, and the captive saw behind him, not more than twenty yards, his pursuer armed with the spear. Suddenly turning round and throwing up his


arms lie faced the savage, who became disconcerted through this act and the bloody appearance of Colter. Stopping to hurl the spear, he fell forward through exhaustion, the spear stuck in the ground and the shaft broke in his hand. Colter rushed forward, seized the pointed part and pinned the warrior to the ground. Continuing his flight toward the river, he improved the delay caused by the Indians, who found their companion dead and, with horrid yells, waited for the rest of the warriors to arrive. Fainting and exhausted, Colter succeeded in gaining the fringe of Cottonwood trees which skirted the river, through which he ran and plunged into the stream. He swam to an island, against the upper end of which a mass of driftwood had lodged, forming a natural raft, under which he dived several times until, among the floating trunks of trees, he found a place covered over with branches and bushes several feet above the water," which secured for him a snug place of refuge.

Scarcely had he found this temporary retreat than his pursuers arrived at the river, yelling wildly, and madly rushing into the water swam toward the raft, which they examined carefully and long. The poor man, suffering intensely, could see the Blackfeet searching for him as he watched through the chinks of the raft. The terrible thought that they were going to set the raft on fire came to his mind, and increased his torture. All through the day his pursuers searched, and not until night fell and no longer was heard the sounds of the Indians did Colter leave his place of safety. When silence reigned he dived again and came up beyond the raft, and in the darkness swam quietly down the river for a considerable distance. He landed upon the opposite bank and continued his flight during the night, anxious to get beyond the reach of the Blackfeet, and as far as possible from their country. Naked, without food or clothing, with injured feet and exhausted strength, there still lay before him several days' journey before he could reach a trading-post of the Missouri, on a branch of the Yellowstone River. With heroic endeavor he pursued his course over the prairies, his body smarting with the heat of the sun by day and chilled with the dews of night, without a companion to sustain or the means of securing game to support, living on roots or berries, which he found by the way, until, after enduring many hardships and overcoming all difficulties, he arrived at the trading-post, and found shelter, sustenance and friends. Colter lived to relate his discovery of the wonders of the famous Yellowstone Park and, like many of the trappers of the west, spent his years with the Indians, and passed away from earth " unwept, unhonored and unsung."


Tablets of adamant! Books of stone! Is it possible that savage man could make enduring records upon materials so hard, or that facts and fancies belonged to uncultured races of so great importance as to cause the bards of the wigwams and lodges to write in characters indelible the story of bygone years. A merry company was seated around the blazing lodge fire in the home of Calf-Shirt as we entered, listening tostorios of valor told by the aged warriors. Old .Medicine-Sun was finishing a story which we had often heard, and after giving our quota of praise to our old friend for his loyalty and courage, we said to the principal speaker at the lodge fire, " Tell us the story of the writing stone." The question remained unanswered, as some of the members of the company placed their hands upon their mouths. Unable to gain the object of our visit, we determined to be more discreet, and glean more carefully in other lodges the secrets of the old days. A few uneventful days passed by, when, sitting-alone by a favorite mound on the prairie, we were aroused from our meditations by the voice of Peta. He was accompanied by a friend we had known in earlier years. Alighting from their horses they took out their pipes and began to smoke. The conversation turned upon the pictured rocks of the Missouri, which my friend said wei;e wonderful. " Many years ago," said he, " more than any of us can tell, the spirits held a secret meeting relating to matters affecting the welfare of the tribes. One of their number was delegated to make known the message of the assembly of the spirits. Scattered far and wide were the tribes over the Canadian North-West and the land of the Big Knives, but distance was as nothing to a god. The wise men of the tribes would, however, die, and there might be a time when the story of the meeting of the gods would be forgotten, and darkness would then settle upon the red mem A more enduring record must be left to guide the children of the wilderness, such a record as unfaithful hands could not destroy, so, far aloft upon the rocks of the Missouri, beyond the reach of mortals, the wisest of the gods wrote out the divine message to all the tribes. I have gone there and gazed upon that stone book, but could not understand it. Only a few of the wisest men, one or two in each tribe, can interpret the sayings of this wonderful record. They treasure its truths-carefully, as they must not be told to unwilling or immoral ears. Whenever a wise man has received the secret of this tablet of stone he becomes grave, and rises quickly in the estimation of his tribe through the wisdom of his counsels."

Peta finished his tale, and his friend acquiesced in its truthfulness by an interjection of frequent occurrence among the natives. The silence having been broken by this exclamation of assent upon the part of our friend, he told us the tale of his wanderings, how, when a youth among the Ojibways of Lake Superior, he had travelled westward on an hunting expedition with a few companions, but being suddenly cut off by a hostile band, he had fled for safety to the bush, and became separated from his companions, whom he never saw again. Several days he journeyed, living upon roots and berries, but becoming exhausted, he determined to enter the first camp of Indians he could find. As he wandered along the banks of one of the rivers, he came upon an Indian trail, which he followed until he reached a camp of Western Indians, who treated him kindly, and with whom he remained until he found a home among the Blackfeet, near the Rocky Mountains. Said he, " I remember when I was a boy, the old men of the tribe telling me the story of the stone book on the great lake." We parted, musing upon the fears and fancies of the red men. Gleams of fancy shot across our path, as we wandered toward the western hills, fragments of song and story, to which we had listened in the early days among the lodges, and as in a vision we saw again the writing stones of the South, which stand upon the prairie. Strange stories have the red men told of these stones. The wonderful writing is there, the record of the gods, and woe to that man who goes near them, unable to interpret the strange words. Never again shall horse and rider return to dwell in the land of the living. Young men and middle-aged men have gone there, through idle curiosity, but never has one returned to tell the secret he had discovered, or to relate his story of a visit to the land of mystery. Wonderful story! It is a land of mystery ! Man of the earth, mortal, not conversant with the things of the spiritual world, unable to penetrate the shadows which hide us from the invisible, beware of treading the soil of the gods, for it is an enchanted land, and if thou utterest an impure word, or conceivest a carnal thought, thou shalt inevitably die.

Riding carelessly over the prairie with a young man who had lately arrived from the Old World, my companion called my attention to a circle of stones. "That is a mark," said he, "placed there to commemorate a great battle that was fought between different tribes of Indians." Oftentimes had 1 seen these circles on the prairie, and knowing the cause of their construction, I was amused at this display of apparent wisdom. These circles are to be found on our western prairies. As the Indians travelled on their hunting expeditions, they placed stones around the edges of the lodges when they camped, to prevent the wind from overturning them, and to keep them warm. This is shown by the outer circle of stones. In the centre of the lodge the fire was made, and to keep the fire from spreading and to adapt it for cooking purposes, a small circle of stones was placed which confined the fire. When the camp was moved the circle of stones was left, and that which we saw was one of these circles. In the bush fringing the rivers of the west stone circles, deeply imbedded in the soil, are found, linking the past with the present. North-east of the cemeteries of the town of Macleod, there are several cairns erected by the Indians. I counted seven cairns of stone, one alone remaining perfect, the others being deeply imbedded in the soil, and almost level with the •surface of the prairie. The Indians have not been able to give me any exact dates relating to the erection of the cairns, but native tradition asserts that Southern Alberta was the home of the Snake, Nez Perce, Crow, Flathead and Pend Oreille Indian tribes. The Cree and Stoney Indians were the first of the tribes to obtain guns and ammunition from the traders, which gave them superiority over their enemies. The tribes comprising the Blackfoot Confederacy were living in the north, and through contact with the white men they, too, become possessors of firearms, and marching southward drove the Crow and Pend Oreille tribes across the border. The Snake, Nez Perce and Flathead tribes were driven across the mountains; and then directing their attention to the Stoney and Cree tribes, tlicy extended their domain by compelling them to retreat northward, until the district of Southern Alberta, inhabited by the bullalo, became the undisputed territory of the Blood, Piegan and Black-foot tribes. Several great battles were fought, and these cairns were placed there to commemorate these events, and probably to mark the spot where some of their greatest warriors died. When a great chief or warrior died a lodge was placed over him, and when this was thrown down by the wind, the body of the deceased was laid upon the ground, and a cairn of stones erected over it. There is a cairn called by the Indians the "Gamblers' Cairn," near the store of I. G. Baker, in the town of Macleod. Several years ago a Piegan camp of Indians located on this spot was attacked with small-pox, and the disease proved so fatal that fifty dead lodges were left standing. Among those who died was Aikfitce; i.e., the Gambler, head chief of the Piegan tribe. His people placed a lodge over him, and when that had been blown down by the western winds, he was reverently laid upon the ground, and the cairn of stones erected. The original cairn was three or four feet in diameter, with rows of stones between forty and fifty feet each in length, leading to the cairn. Only one row of stones remains, and the cairn is worn nearly level with the street. This simple monument is of little interest to the passing stranger; but the Indian riding past will turn to his comrade and quietly say, "Aikfttce."

These stone monuments are to be found in widely scattered districts of the North-West, telling their own simple story of other days. There are several rows of stones several miles in length on the northern side of Belly River, near the Blood Indian Reserve, and within three miles of the Slide Out Flat, which can be seen when the prairie is burned. The Indians are unable to give any account of their history. A line of boulders may still be seen stretching from St. Mary's River northward for more than one hundred miles. In some places they are quite close together, and at intervals are separated by several miles. Some of them have been worn smooth by the action of the weather, and by the buffalo using them as rubbing-posts.

Indeed, you may see some of them lying in hollow spots on the prairie, the soil having been loosened by the tramping of the buffalo, and then blown away by the wind.

Upon the summit of a limestone hill on Moose Mountain, Assiniboia, there is a group of cairns. The central cairn is composed of loose stones, and measures about thirty feet in diameter and four feet high. This is surrounded by a heart-shaped figure of stones, having its apex toward the east, and from this radiate six rows of stones, each terminating in a small cairn. Four of these radiating lines nearly correspond with the points of the compass, and each of the lines of different lengths terminate in a smaller cairn. The Indians know nothing of the origin of these lines and cairns, but state that they were made by the spirit of the winds. In the Lake of the Woods region there are numerous boulders grooved, polished and marked by glacial action, and in the vicinity of Milk River are boulders of various shapes and sizes. Within a few miles of Toronto, in the Township of Vaughan, there was found a few years ago a flattened oval granite cobble, resembling in shape and size a shoemaker's lap-stone, having cut upon one side the date, "1641." This has been called the "Jesuit's stone." In the spring of 1641, Brebeuf and Chaumonot, Jesuit missionaries, left the country of the Neutrals for their home among the Hurons, and were compelled to remain at the Indian village of Teotongniaton, or St. Williams, where they were entertained by a woman, probably belonging to the Aondironnons, a clan of the Neutrals, for nearly a month. Dean Harris, of St. Catharines, who has investigated the matter, thinks that probably during this journey the missionaries commemorated the event by cutting the date in this stone.

Although not belonging specially to the natives of the country, nor to Indian lore, yet as it relates to the land of the red men, and is of interest to some of my readers, I cannot help referring to the amethyst mines which I lately visited. Accompanied by a few friends I had the pleasure of exploring the mines where the beautiful amethysts are found, which are located about fifteen miles east of Port Arthur and within two miles of the bay. Some fascinating stories have-been told of the wealth of the mines, the abundance of amethysts and the size of single amethysts, one of them reputed to have been nearly one hundred pounds in weight, which sold for fifteen hundred dollars. Whether the narrators drew upon their imagination or not in telling these stories I cannot say, yet the deep excavations reveal great labor which must have repaid the workers. Numerous holes in the ground, from twenty to thirty feet in depth, and from ten to twelve feet wide, were partially filled with debris, rich in tiny amethysts of purple and brown, and the sides of the rocky caverns glistened with thousands of beautiful specimens. Those found in the rocks were, however, of little value, as they were destroyed in blasting, but there were layers of clay wherein the single amethysts were found in great profusion. Some years ago the mines were abandoned, apparently on account of the heavy labor and the glutting of the market. Beautiful stones of various colors are still found in abundance at Isle Royale and along the shores of Lake Superior, which are sent to Germany and made into ornaments. The traveller is enraptured when he beholds their beauty and prizes them as. treasures of land and sea.


The southern portion of the North-West Territories in the old buffalo days witnessed many an exciting scene when the whiskey traders visited the Indian camps to trade their goods, for the hides of the buffalo. The trade in buffalo robes assumed such proportions that several traders from the United States, were induced to enter the country of the Blackfeet to carry on their trade. Some of these traders were not anxious to give or sell whiskey to the natives, but they found others more successful in dealing with them through the gift and sale of liquor that they felt compelled to imitate their example. In trading with the red men the temptation proved too strong to evade the liking for liquor shown by the men of the western lodges.

and accordingly whiskey of the worst kind was introduced, and some terrible scenes followed. Many of the Indians drank the liquor until they died, and murders were frequent. Fifty thousand robes, worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, constituted the annual trade, and much of the proceeds, the greater part the missionaries said, was spent in whiskey. The natives sold their horses to the traders, crime increased, the native population decreased, and the Blackfeet and Crees, beholding the fearful consequences of the traffic, became anxious for its suppression. The missionaries, by interviews and letters, sought the aid of the Government, and at a meeting called George McDougall and Chief Factor Christie, of the Hudson's Bay Company, a petition was drawn up to be sent to the Dominion authorities requesting measures to be adopted for the overthrow of the liquor trade among the Indians, and the maintenance of law and order, suggesting that a military force be sent to the country for that purpose. In 1871 Mr. Christie brought this matter before Governor Archibald, and Chief Sweet Grass, head chief of the Crees, in his message sent to the Governor at the same time, said, among other things, "We want you to stop the Americans from coming to trade on our lands and giving fire-water, ammunition and arms to our enemies, the Blackfeet." The Dominion authorities issued a proclamation prohibiting the traffic in spirituous liquors to Indians and others, and the use of strychnine in the destruction of animal lift but the evils of the liquor traffic still existed. In 1873 the Dominion Parliament passed an Act to establish a military force in the North-West. This force, known as the North-West Mounted Police, comprised three hundred men with the proportionate complement of officers. In September, 1873, three divisions of the force were organized at the Stone Fort, ne^ar Winnipeg, and proceeded to Dufferin to await reinforcements from Montreal and Toronto. Upon the arrival of the other three divisions from the east, the preparations for the trip across the prairies were made, and on July 8th they left Dufferin on the famous march of 1874, under the command of Eaeutenant-Colonel French. About the middle of September, the main column, after many hardships, reached the Old Man's River, near the present site of Macleod. A, B, C and F divisions being left there under the Assistant-Commissioner, Lieutenant-Colonel Macleod proceeded at once to erect log buildings as a police fort, which was named Fort Macleod. A dozen men, under Colonel Jarvis, parted from the main column at Roche Percee for Edmonton, where they arrived on the .second day of November. The main column, under Colonel French, crossed the plains northward to Fort Pelly by way of Qu'Appelle, but finding their intended headquarters not ready returned to Dufferin. In four months the main column had travelled one thousand, nine hundred and fifty-nine miles, besides the distance covered by detachments on special service. Colonel Macleod succeeded Colonel French as commissioner, and under his efficient administration law and order were established in the country, the whiskey traffic among the Indians wholly suppressed and life made secure. I have listened to the genial commissioner as he related his account of the march across the prairies, the vast herds of buffalo seen, and adventures of great interest. The force consisted of six divisions, named A, B, C, D, E, F. Fort Macleod was built in the form of a square upon an island in the Old Man's River, the buildings consisting of cotton-wood logs, filled in with mud, and subsequently with lime. It was a frail-looking structure for defence in the country of the Blackfeet, but the brave-hearted men trusted to their courage and honest dealing with the Indians to maintain order more than to works of defence. Fort Walsh was established in 1874 by Major Walsh. Considerable feeling in the east and west wras manifested when it became known that a military force was being organized for the Territories. Old soldiers of the Imperial army settled in Canada, youthful aspirants to military honors, college graduates and the sons of gentlemen of wealth and political influence anxious to hunt the buffalo and take some scalps, and worthless adventurers sought admission to the ranks. It was reported that the whiskey traders were building fortifications to oppose the police and many of the people were apprehensive of danger but the whiskey traders were just as anxious as the friends of the police, for they were ever on the alert, in expectation of the coming of the force, assured that it meant the destruction of their business and, if caught, the confiscation of their property.

The force is graded as commissioner, assistant-commissioner,, superintendent, inspector and constable. One half of the force was armed with Winchester carbines and Adams revolvers,, and the other half with Snider carbines and the same revolver. Non-commissioned officers carried swords. The uniform was scarlet tunic and serge, faced with yellow, black breeches with wide yellow stripes and top boots. In summer white helmets and gauntlets were worn, and in winter short buffalo coats, fur caps, mitts and moccasins. The routine duties at the police forts were : Stables three times a day, one hour of artillery and another of riding drill in the morning, and one hour of riding drill in the afternoon. Men were told off as stable orderlies,, regimental fatigue and room orderlies. Such a small force to maintain peace in a country as large as all our Eastern Provinces combined, inhabited by more than twenty thousand Indians-arid half-breeds and numerous lawless persons, had no small task before them, but their presence established order, and peaceful relations among all classes were speedily made.

Shortly after the police had stationed themselves at Fort Macleod some of the Blackfeet paid a visit to the fort and were kindly treated by Colonel Macleod, whom they named " Stamiksotokan," meaning Bull's Head, significant of wise administration and military prowess. The genial commissioner treated them kindly and with dignity. He invited them to inspect the cannon, and then pointing to a tree more than a mile distant, told them to look at it. Suddenly were they surprised as they saw the thick branch of the tree carried away by the cannon ball, and the boom and smoke startled them, leaving an indelible impression on their minds of the strength and wisdom of the men who had arrived to govern the country. From the beginning the riders of the plains gained the respect of the natives, and ever since that period they have retained the confidence imposed in them. It could not but happen that hostile relations would exist at times, as the men of the scarlet tunic enforced justice, and sought out and punished the criminals in the camps. The feuds among the native tribes called for the interference of the police, and they were able by their tact, energy and courage to prevent wars between the tribes.

An incident characteristic of this period happened at Fort Walsh in June, 1877. A Saulteaux chief, named Little Child, came to Fort Walsh, and reported that his people, numbering about fifty souls, were camped with a large party of Assiniboines, and when they decided to move their camp an Assiniboine, named Crow's Dance, formed a war lodge with two hundred of his warriors, and then declared that the Saulteaux would not be allowed to leave until lie gave them permission. Little Child protested, saying that he would inform the White Mother's chief, and upon making preparations to leave, the Assiniboines attacked the Saulteaux, killing some of their dogs and threatening to work serious damage to the people. When the bands separated, the Saulteaux chief went to Fort Walsh and laid a complaint against Crow's Dance and his party. Major Walsh started with a guide and fifteen men, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and rode until three o'clock next morning, before they reached the camp of the Assiniboines. Major Walsh, in Ium report of the affair, says, "The camp was formed in the shape of a war camp, with a war lodge in the centre. In the latter I expected to find Crow's Dance with his leaders. Fearing they might offer resistance (Little Child said they certainly would) I halted, and had the arms of my men inspected and pistols loaded. Striking the camp so early, I thought I might take them by surprise; so I moved west along a ravine about half a mile. This brought us within three quarters of a mile of the camp. At a short trot we soon entered the camp and surrounded the war lodge, and found Crow's Dance and nineteen warriors in it. I had them immediately moved out of camp to a small butte half a mile distant, and then arrested Blackfoot and Bear's Down, and took them to the butte. It was now 5 a.m. I ordered breakfast and sent the interpreter to inform the chiefs of the camp that I would meet them in council in an hour. The camp was taken by surprise, arrests made and prisoners taken to the butte, before a chief in the camp knew anything about it. At the appointed time the following chiefs assembled: Long Lodge, Shell King and Little Chief. I told them what I had done, and that I intended to take the prisoners to the Fort and try them by the law of the White Mother for the crime they had committed; that they, as chiefs, should not have allowed such a crime to be committed. They replied that they tried to stop it but could not. At 10 a.m. I left council and arrived at the Fort at 8 p.m., a distance of fifty miles. If the Saulteaux, when attacked by the Assiniboines, had returned the shot, there would in all probability have been a fearful massacre." Lieutenant-Colonel Irvine, when reporting this affair to the Government, wrote: "I cannot too highly write of Inspector Walsh's prompt conduct in this matter, and it must be a matter of congratulation to feel that fifteen of our men can ride into an enormous camp of Indians, and take out of it as prisoners some of the head men. The action of this detachment will have great effect on all the Indians throughout the country." The Indians learned to trust the officers and men of the force, who won their confidence, not through a false sentimentality or through a laxity in discipline, but by enforcing justice to red and white. During my residence at Fort Macleod a small party of Blood Indians proceeded northward and stole some horses from the camp of the Stoney Indians. Returning about midnight, as the horses were being driven across the Old Man's River, an Indian woman residing in the town aroused William Gladstone, the interpreter, who informed the police, and in a few moments a mere handful of the red-coats were in hot pursuit toward the Blood Indian Reserve. The night was dark, but they gained rapidly upon the natives, and when they reached the band of horses the red men had disappeared. A search through the camp during the day resulted in the capture of an Indian named Jingling Bells. He was taken to the Fort, and at the regular session of the court was tried by jury and sentenced. Some of the natives vowed that he would never be taken to Stoney Mountain Penitentiary, for Jingling Bells was a favorite in the camp. When the time came for his removal he had to be <1 riven across the prairie to Fort Walsh, about three hundred miles, and the rumor from the camp of an attempt to release the prisoner having reached the ears of the police, they had to resort to stratagem to get him safely out of the country. One evening a small party of police left Fort Macleod, but this caused 110 surprise, as it was a circumstance of frequent occurrence. The party travelled until dark, and then camped for the night. About midnight another party of police left the fort with the prisoner and arrived at the police camp at sunrise, and Jingling Bells was speedily transferred and hurried onward to prison without any delay.

The treaty at Blackfoot Crossing in 1878, between the Government and the tribes inhabiting Alberta, including the Black-feet, Bloods, Piegans, Sarcees, and Stoneys was made successfully, and the presence of the police promoted peace, allayed the fears and encouraged the hopes of the red men. Every year the annual treaty payments made the transfer of a very large sum of money in one-dollar bills a necessity, and this duty was faithfully performed by the red-coats. During the payments their presence was necessary on the Reserves, in the interests of the Government, the white people and the Indians. When Sitting Bull and the hostile Sioux lied from the United States and camped in the vicinity of Fort Walsh, the energy, firmness and diplomacy of Major Crozier and his brother officers, sustained by the police, prevented serious complications. I well remember a disturbance at Blackfoot Crossing, when alxnit a dozen men wrere stationed there under Captain Dickens, a son of Charles Dickens, the novelist. One of the Black feet had committed some depredation and the police attempted to arrest him, but the Indians fired over their heads to intimidate them, and released the prisoner. Trouble of a more serious nature was expected, and two policemen were speedily despatched during the night to Fort Macleod for reinforcements. Without a moment's delay Major Crozier, with a small detachment of police, started for the sfoene of the disturbance. The distance was about one hundred miles and by forced marches they arrived at Black-foot Crossing at night. The sacks of oats were ranged inside the walls of the frail log-buildings which served as police-quarters, and works of defence were thrown up on the outside. When Crowfoot and his warriors arose from their slumbers they were surprised to see the preparations which had been made while they slept. The old chief held a conference with Major Crozier, •and the brave soldier said he must have the prisoner to take to Fort Macleod. When Crowfoot asked him what he would do if he could not get him, he quietly said that then he must fight until he got him. Crowfoot saw at once the determined attitude of his friend, who now seemed his opponent, and he significantly turned to the Major and said, "We will fight, then." With these words upon this lips he retired, and the police made ready for action. It* needed the utterance of a single word from Crowfoot and the entire camp would be transformed into a war camp. The wise old chief understood men and matters better than the Indians, and after weighing the circumstances with the probable effects upon his people, he concluded that discretion was the better part of valor, and in a short time he returned with the prisoner, who was handed over to the minister of justice, who took him to Fort Macleod, where he was tried and punished. I need not refer to the heroism of the riders of the plains at Duck Lake, and indeed during the whole of the rebellion. They were always ready to defend their country and were ever foremost at the call of duty when danger stared them in the face.

The police expected to find in the haunts of the whiskey traders imposing fortifications and fear was mutual, for the traders had heard of the advance of the men of the scarlet tunic. The traders had their Spitzi Cavalry organized for justice among themselves and defence against the Indians. There were forts scattered over the country—the Old Bow Fort, about twelve miles beyond Morley, in the valley of the Bow; a fort at Sheep Creek, a small trading-post in the Porcupine Hills, between Mosquito Creek and the Leavings of Willow Creek; Slide-Out, in one of the "bottoms" of the Belly River; Stand-Oft', at the Junction of the Kootenay with the Belly River, and Whoop-Up, at the Junction of the Belly and St. Mary's rivers. The most formidable of these trading-posts was Whoop-Up. There was no fighting, however, to be done, as the whiskey traders quietly gave up their business and traded with the Indians without liquor. For some time the police were satisfied with the erection of large forts, which were a necessity during their first years in the country, and from these posts they kept a sharp look-out on the administration of law in the country. With the progress of settlement, consequent upon the extinction of the buffalo, the peaceful attitude of the Indians and the establishment of stock raising, it became necessary to locate small detachments in different parts of the country. Some of these posts were named after the officers, as Walsh and Macleod had been, and thus old Fort Kipp was known as Fort Winder, and after the affair at Blackfoot Crossing, the place of the parley was known amongst us as Fort Dickens. These names have passed away never to return.

Long and lonely rides over the prairie in the depth of winter were made by the members of the force. Thrilling adventures could be told by some of the men of '74, but they have made history without recording it. My first sad duty upon my

arrival in Macleod was to bury a young policeman named Hooley, the son of an English Church clergyman, who was drowned in Belly River when returning from a trip in the discharge of his duties. I have seen the young man fresh from the city, the child of luxury, start in the night when the thermometer was thirty degrees below zero, to bear a despatch to a post thirty-five miles distant; but he flinched not, for underneath the red coat there beat a patriotic heart. Owe of these brave men went southward, bearing an important message, but he never returned, and some of us thought lie had taken advantage of the trust imposed in him by his officers and had deserted. When the spring came, with its genial winds and sunshine, the body of the faithful rider was found 011 the shore of the river where he had disappeared, with no friendly aid to help in the hour of distress. In the depth of winter another brave man, named Parker, started on his errand of justice for the post on the St. Mary's River above the mouth of Lee's Creek. It was an easy matter to lose the trail leading to the police camp, and Parker missed it. He wandered around, suffering keenly from the intense cold, and, becoming snow-blind, was unable to reach any place of safety. For six days, without food, he travelled aimlessly 011 the prairie, eating snow to quench his thirst, and, removing the saddle from his horse, he lay down 011 the bare spots made by the dumb animal pawing the snow to obtain grass. With the instinct of a faithful friend the horse would not leave him, although he turned it loose that it might find its way to camp, but it stood near as if to encourage him. After the days and nights of suspense he was found by the stage-driver of thv mail waggon, and brought to the camp, where he was cared for until he had partially recovered, when he was removed to the hospital in Macleod. He was badly frozen and emaciated, but he finally regained his strength, and his horse, Custer, became the hero of the fort.

Volumes could be written of the heroic deeds and stirring adventures of the riders of the plains. Officers and men were liberal in their gifts. A peculiar freak of superstition or of self-interest was apparent in the fact that when a long journey had to be undertaken, almost invariably they started on Sunday. Sometimes there existed a partisan feeling among the citi/.eiLs and police, which broke out at the public dance at Kamusi's Hotel, in Macleod, where not a single white lady was present— as there were only five within a radius of several hundred miles— and the dancers had to find partners among the Indians and half-breed women. There was not a dressmaker or milliner in the country, and the aspirants to the honors of the ball-room would beg the white ladies to sell their dresses and bonnets, and they were quite willing to pay big prices for them.

There were clever schemers among the policemen, as might be expected where so many were located, and one of these was a sergeant who had severed his connection with the force and was engaged in farming. Driving into the fort with an empty waggon he went to the storehouse and filled his waggon with sacks of grain, and when about ready to start with his stolen goods he was confronted by the officer in charge, who asked him what he was doing. The wily ex-policeman replied that he wanted to exchange grain, as he wished to get a new kind for seed for his farm. The officer summarily ordered him away, and he coolly drove off with the load of oats.

In later years the police have aided the settlers in putting out prairie fires, and many of their horses have been recovered from the parties who stole them. Sometimes an American citizen would find his way to one of the forts, inquiring after stolen horses, and help would be given him. A civilian from Montana called upon Captain Mclllree, when he was commanding officer at Fort Walsh, and informed him that a horse had been stolen from his camp, close by. His description of the horse was on this wise: " Wall, ye see, Cap, the doggoned hoss hadn't 110 particler color. I call him Blueskin. He ain't blue, sure ; but, now I tell ye, he ain't black, and ye can't call him grey. He's a cantankerous critter ; but I bet you can't beat him in those stables. Will you take me ? I'll run him with anything hereabouts." The captain mildly suggested that they had better find the horse before racing him. A sergeant and four men were instructed to seek the stolen horse, and within ten minutes they were on their way to Assiniboine. After a ride of twenty-five milesw they found at the South Fork a camp of Cree Indians, who disclaimed any knowledge of the stolen animal. A search among the Indian horses proved successful in finding the horse, and then the police demanded the chief to give up the thief. He said he did not know the man; but upon being told that h«-would be required himself to accompany them to the fort, In-delivered the man; and within seven hours from the time of starting the police arrived at the fort with the stolen property and the Cree Indian, having ridden a distance of fifty miles.

The ordinary duties of the police now extend over an area of about seven hundred and fifty miles from east to west, and four hundred miles from north to south. Alon<r the southern frontier there are summer patrols, several hundred miles being patrolled weekly. On these patrols the police horses travel annually more than one million miles. Throughout the Territories there are about seventy detachment outposts. The strength of the force is now about nine hundred men. Concerning the force the following tribute from Caspar W. Whitney, in his series of articles on Snow-Shoes to Barren Lands," is opportune: " He has the reputation of being the most effective arm of the Canadian Interior Department; and he lives up to it. These ' Riders of the Plains,' as they are called, patrol a country so large that the entire force may lose itself within its domains and still be miles and miles apart. Yet this comparative handful maintains order among the lawless white men and stays discontentment among the restless red men in a manner so satisfactorily and so unostentatiously as to make some of our United States experiences read like those of a tyro. The success of the North-West Mounted Police may be accredited to its system of distribution throughout the guarded territory. Unlike our army, it does not mass its force in forts adjacent to Indian Reservations. Posts it has where recruiting and drilling are constantly going forward, but the main body of men is scattered in twos and threes over the country, riding hither and thither—a watch that goes on relief after relief. This is the secret of their success, and a system it would well repay our own Government to adopt. The police are ever on the spot to advise or to arrest. They do not wait for action until an outbreak has occurred; they are always in action. They constitute a most valuable peace-assuring corps, and I wish we had one like it." They are extending their territory and influence, a detachment being now stationed near the boundary of Canada and Alaska. With the advance of settlement they must still follow the Indian trail into the Peace River district. The red-coat and the flag of the nation give peace alike to the native tribes and the white people, and wherever these are found there is a lessening of crime, the establishment of order and industry, and the growth of patriotism.


The natives of the Dominion, in common with some tribes in the United States and other countries, have a system of kinship which extends beyond their own family known as totemism. The tribes are divided into clans, bands or gentes, each having its own distinctive crest or emblem of ancestry, which constitutes a native heraldry and a bond of brotherhood. The crests are in the form of animals, birds or fishes, which are believed to be in a sense their ancestors, and are known as totems. The name is derived from the Ojibway word clodaim or totam. "A totem is a class of material objects which a savage regards with superstitious respect, believing that there exists between him and every member of the class an intimate and altogether special relation. As distinguished from a fetich, a totem is never an isolated individual, but always a class of objects, generally a species of animals or of plants, more rarely a class of inanimate natural objects, very rarely a class of artificial objects."

The natives make a theoretical claim of descent from the animals which they accept as their totems, but it cannot be shown that this is a literal descent. Confounding the- ideal with the real, they have come to speak of them as their ancestors In a general sense those animals which inspired fear or affection or seemed to possess a high degree of intelligence or superhuman capacities were regarded as their kindred, but those which lacked such qualities as would impress men were despised or rejected as totems. The clan system, with its clan marks or totems, developed a clan brotherhood with very strong ties and a worship of animals. The duties of clanship consisted in making a commom defence against enemies, prohibition of marriage within the clan or gens, the establishment of a common burial place, the right of electing and deposing chiefs, the bestowment of names, the adoption of strangers into the clan, attendance upon religious feasts, being represented in the tribal councils, and the mutual rights of inheritance of the property of deceased members. J Each of the clans is known by the name of the totem, as the clan of the wolf, bear, tortoise, deer or hawk. Different degrees of rank or dignity are attached to different totems, the bear, the tortoise, ami the wolf being held in the highest rank among the Iroquois. Sometimes hereditary rights or special privileges reside in particular clans, as the furnishing of a sachem to the tribe, or performing certain religious ceremonies.

The clan was forbidden to kill or eat the totem, and this religious ban is known as Tabooism. Although the people would not hesitate to commit grave acts of cruelty and to slay and even eat their enemies, they would not dare to kill or eat their totem, believing it to be one of their kindred or a part of themselves, and only in extreme cases of hunger or by mistake would it be eaten lest they should die. The Dakotas and other tribes believe that they are possessed by the animal whose totem they bear, and they will not eat it. [| Among some of the native tribes of British Columbia, not only will a man not kill his totem, but if he sees another slay it he will demand compensation, and if one of the natives exhibits his totem by painting it on his forehead or otherwise, all those belonging to the same totem must do honor to it by casting property before it.

The worship of animals is based upon totemism in its religious aspect. The civilized nations of antiquity passed through the totem stage, the members of one totem being prohibited from eating their own, yet making a sacrificial feast of a hostile totem. Certain kinds of food must not be eaten because of its relation to their forms of religious worship, included in their descent from the animal which is their totem. The totem system was the first in all countries, even traces of its existence being found in the symbolism of the Bible, as the lion was the animal symbol for Judah, the ass for Issachar, the wolf for Benjamin, the serpent for Dan, and the hind for Gad In America the totem system was limited in general to the hunter races, and did not go beyond the stage of savagery and barbarism. The natives protected their totems and they expected to be protected by them. They were the divinities which guided and protected them. Charlevoix, in speaking of our Indians going to war, says that they were always careful to enclose in a bag the tutelar genius or manito, and these bags were distributed among the elders of each family. Before entering the country of an enemy they would have a great feast and then go to sleep, expecting to have dreams, and those who were thus privileged would go from lodge to lodge singing their death songs, in which were incorporated their dreams. An army of warriors, after sending out scouts to note the presence of an enemy, would go to sleep near their fires, believing that their totems would protect them.

This belief in the protective power of the totems made the Indians of British Columbia paint or carve them upon their houses, even the entrance of the house being through the body of a fish, or the image of the thunder bird, with spreading wings, being placed above the door. The Thlinkeet chief, lying in state, was surrounded by his individual clan and ancestral totems, as his guardians in death.14 One of the phases of totemism was Unpeopling of caves, trees, rapids of rivers, and strange-looking stones with spirits. This is the animistic spirit which is found so frequently upon the prairies of the west. The Crees cast a piece of tobacco into the rapid as a sacrifice to ensure protection, and the Blackfeet often told me'of the abodes of the spirit* in the rocks which lay on the prairie. This religion of savagery was a higher system than shamanism, yet, as animal worship, found no higher personality than man.

As the primitive form of society totemism united the members of the clan as brothers and sisters, extending far beyond the limits of family relationship, including people who spoke different dialects and forming a clan brotherhood with ties stronger than family life. Rival totems made war with each other, as in Grecian mythology Lycus, the wolf, flees the country before iEgeus, the goat, and the totem relationship secured peace beyond the ties of the families. A husband and wife may belong to different totems, which will divide them when there arises a totem feud. Intermarriage between the members of the same totem was forbidden. A member of the wolf clan could not marry a wolf, but he might take a wife from the women of the hawk clan. Such an arrangement as this compelled the people to live together, the family ties being scattered among the clans, and made them stronger by such a social and religious bond. From this relationship there sprang the custom which forbade intercourse between family relations, especially between the husband and the parents of the wife. This custom is followed at the present day among the Black-feet and other tribes. By the fraternal bond every member of the clan feels called upon to avenge the death of one of its members by an enemy, and the hunter, warrior or wayfarer receives a cordial welcome in the distant lodges of the clansmen whose face he may have never seen. By the laws of descent the children belong to the clan of the mother, and not to the clan of the father. Among the Haidas of British Columbia the children belong to the totem clan of the mother, but if the clan of the father is reduced in numbers, the child may be given to the sister of the father to suckle, and it is then spoken of as belonging to the paternal aunt, and belongs to the clan of the father. Mother-right prevails among the western Denes, and in a general way among the northern tribes of British Columbia, while paternal rule exists generally among the southern tribes. Among the western Dends titles and landed property cannot pass by heredity into a different clan, and the children of a noble belonging to their mother's clan could not inherit the property of their father. If the father had nephews by a sister one of them became his successor, the nephews belonging to the clan of his uncle through his mother. In order that the children of the noble might not be wholly disinherited, one of his daughters would be united in marriage with her inheriting maternal first cousin. Among the Kwakiutl, matriarchate originally prevailed. The husband becomes a member of the clan of his wife a short time after his marriage, by assuming the name and crest of his father-in-law. This crest descends upon his children, his daughters retaining it, but his sons lose it as they follow their father's example by adopting the crests of the women they marry. Patriarchal' rule exists among the Salish, the children belonging to then-father's gens, and the eldest son inherits his father's name and rank * The Wyandots and Five Nations adhered strictly to the female line of descent, the office of sachem not passing to the son, but to the brother of the sachem, his sister's son, or some remoter kinsman.

The totem is not only a clan name, denoting descent from a common ancestor, but it is also a clan symbol, constituting a conventional native heraldry. The totem marks are the native insignia, or symbols of rank or authority. Sometimes the crest refers to adventures of the ancestor. The Thlinkeets, Haidas and Tshimpseans celebrate a memorial festival and erect a memorial column upon the death of a man, showing the crest of the gens. The graves of great warriors are marked by a statue representing a warrior with a war club, j Heraldic columns are erected by the British Columbia tribes to commemorate the event of a chief taking his position in the tribe by building a house. These posts vary in length from forty to sixty feet. The general name for them among the Haidas is keeang, but each column has also an individual and distinguishing name. The keeang or lodge poles are hollowed out at the back and carved in front. When a chief decides to erect a keeang and build a lodge, invitations are sent to the tribes in the vicinity to attend; who, upon their arrival, are received by dancers in costume and are hospitably entertained. At the appointed time, the Indians move the pole upon rollers to a hole previously dug, from seven to ten feet deep, long ropes are fastened to it which are grasped by gangs of men, women and children, who stand at a considerable distance, awaiting the signal to haul. The strongest men in the company raise the pole with their hands until it reaches their heads, when stout poles tied together in the form of shears are placed under it as a support. Sharp pointed poles are used to raise it to an angle of forty -five degrees, and then the signal is given for the persons at the ropes to haul it into position. With loud shouts the butt is dropped into the hole, and the column being set plumb, it is firmly set in position with Earth. The crowd then repair to the house of the owner of the column, who gives a potlach—a feast being provided of berries and grease, seaweed and other native condiments, and a distribution of all his property, consisting of blankets and numerous trinkets. These gifts are bestowed upon the members of all the gens, except the one to whom the column belongs. A pole erected by a Haida chief, named Stultah, at 'Masset is named Que-tilk-kep-tzoo, meaning " a watcher for arrivals." Mortuary columns erected upon the death of a chief are solid, circular poles, carved only 011 the base and summit. When these are erected a feast is given to the multitude, and blankets are distributed to the makers of the pole.*

The totem system introduced a lineage which united people belonging to the same elan though widely separated as kinsmen, and when a stranger belonged to the same crest as Unpeople he visited, he was treated as a relation. Thus a clan brotherhood existed which bound the people together. Several clans were sometimes united with a common totem, and these are known as a phratry. Four divisions are recognized in some districts by the natives: The clan or gens, the phratry or union of clans, the tribe and the confederacy or union of tribes. The phratry, with its common totem and interests, has several clans, each with its own sub-crest. There are several phratries among the tribes of British Columbia.

Totems are of three kinds: The clan totem, the personal totem, and the sex totem. The clan totem is a material object reverenced by a body of men and women who believe themselves to be of one blood, descended from the same ancestor, and bound to protect each other on account of their kinship and faith in the same totem. By means of the clan totem, the clan name was perpetuated among the Indian tribes and Mound-Builders, as shown by the totem posts, where the name of the clan generally surmounted the column, the family history and genealogical record being contained in the carvings below the clan name, and among the Mound-Builders the gigantic earth-works preserved the name of the clan. The native tribes of Canada and the United States have a large number of clan totems, estimated by Morgan to be nearly one hundred, and classified by Staniland Wake, showing a relationship between the tribes.* There cannot, however, be given any definite number of totems, as in tracing the history of the tribes some of the clan totems seem to change by the introduction of new totems and the extinction of some of the old. Different writers enumerate the clan totems for separate tribes, giving more or less for the same tribe, f The members of the same clan totem enjoyed special privileges, and were exempt from others, as upon one clan devolved the duty


of providing a sachem for the tribe, and, as has been seen, among the Haidas of British Columbia gifts were distributed at the erection of a memorial column to all the totems except the one to whom the column belonged.

Personal or individual totems are common among the native tribes of Canada. Early in life the Blackfoot seeks a lonely spot upon the prairie where he fasts and prays, until in a dream there is revealed to him his individual totem in the shape of an animal, which he kills, and preserves the skin that he may ever have it with him to protect and guide him. He must not afterward kill or eat any of its kind. Wherever he goes as a hunter or warrior, it must accompany him, and he is assured of safety in war and success in hunting. If he becomes a medicine man, it will reveal unto him some herb as medicine that the other medicine men know nothing of, and he depends upon its instruction to give him influence in his tribe. Personal totems are known among the Eastern Denes, but not clan totems, while among the Western Den^s who were influenced through contact with the tribes from the western coast, personal and clan totems were in use.

The sex totem is generally an animal sacred to one of the sexes, each having its own special animal, which is regarded as a brother or sister, respectively, and is consequently protected. The sex totem prevails in Australia, and is not found among the native tribes of Canada.

Animals were generally chosen as totems, arising no doubt from the contact of man in his primitive condition with them, Becoming acquainted with their habits, and witnessing daily evidences of their sagacity, he learned to ascribe to them human traits, affections and superior wisdom. Among the Algonquin tribes it was believed that the Giant Rabbit shot his arrows into the soil, which became transfixed and grew up as trees, and from the dead bodies of certain animals he formed men, and these animals became the totems of the Algonquins

The wolf, bear, deer and buffalo prevail as animal totems among the Iroquois, Algonquins, Dakotas and their allies, the other animals being less frequently used as totems. Among the western J)enes, the elan totems included the toad, grouse, crow, beaver, salmon, and other animals and birds. The hare is found as a totemie device in Egypt and America. It appears in the traditions of the natives as the Great Hare, Michabo, the Hero of the Dawn in the earth eiligies of the Mound-Builders, and as a sun symbol in the stone ornaments.

Bird totems were extensively used by the Mound-Builders and Indians, the eagle being the chief among the birds and the most widely distributed of the bird totems; effigies of wild geese, swallows and eagles are abundant in the Mound-Builders' region of Wisconsin. At Museoda there is an efligy of a bird, with its wings spread out, measuring about one thousand feet in length. The dog, pheasant, snake and spider are found among the totems, and even water, snow and ice. A Blackl'oot friend of mine wore a bird totem on his war bonnet when he went into battle, and he was assured that he could not be injured so long as it remained there. Topographical names, as Bed Rock, Salt Springs and Grassy Hill; and names of plants, as Cottonwood, Walnut and Willow, were used by the Navajoes and Apaches of Arizona.^ Some of the elans of the tribe of Blood Indians are known as Fish-Haters, TaH Men, Camping Together, Sweaty Feet and Black Horses, showing the absence of totems among some of the clans, such as we understand by the use of the word totem. Dr. Peet says that human figures were seldom used to represent totems, although they M ere sometimes employed to show the mythologies which prevailed, and when it is seen a higher type of totemism has been introduced. It has been claimed that the monkey may be seen carved upon the totem posts of the Haidas, but no animal figure of that kind has been found upon the North-West coast, the figure supposed to be that of the monkey being the bear, with the human face and form.

Various methods have been employed for exhibiting the totems of the clans and individuals. Sometimes the totem was beautifully carved on a stone pipe, and some fine specimens of these toteinic stone pipes may be seen in the museum of the Canadian Institute, as well as in the archaeological museums of the United States. The British Columbia tribes tattooed it upon their person, painted it upon their canoes and oars, placed it upon their houses and carved it upon totem posts; the Black-foot wore it upon his war bonnet and carried it in his medicine bag, as the Iroquois and the Mound-Builders made earth figures representing the totems. It was affixed to treaties, painted on rocks, the skin of the totem was worn by the individual, the hair was dressed to show some distinctive feature of the animal, it was painted on the lodge, and woven into the dress of the wearer. Stone effigies were also erected to represent the totems.

Columns were used by the Indians of British Columbia to inform the tribes of the movements of their enemies, as heraldic columns, memorial posts and totem posts. Although totem posts have prevailed among the tribes on the western coast, they were employed by some of the eastern tribes. In the villages of the Ottavvas the different clans had separate wards, at the gates of which were erected posts bearing the figures of the clan totems ; and near the village of Pomeiock, where the Powhattans dwelt, were a set of carved posts, having human faces carved near the top, which surrounded the dance circle and were used in their sun worship. The Pacific Coast is, however, the totem post district, more than five hundred carved columns being known to exist in 1884 in the land of the Haidas. The age of carved columns has passed away, many of them having fallen down, some being cut down for firewood, and no new ones are being erected. A few costly marble columns have been set up in the streets and native burying-grounds, which still remain, but the ambition of the people is to erect marble tombstones, with an inscription giving the name and date of the death. Some of the posts are elaborately carved, each tribe having its own style of carving and crests. A few of them are painted,

but the majority of them are without any coloring. Strange-looking figures are carved upon them, each figure having its own story, embodying the myths of the people, family history, totem and personal exploits. The height of the column, the variety, extent and architectural beauty displayed and the material of which it was made proclaimed the wealth of the owner. The miniature columns made of wood and black slate, about fifteen feet in height, have taken the place of the massive columns, and some of these cost not less than one thousand dollars each. The civilized stonecutter has been called in to aid the native artist to keep alive among the people their wonderful mythology and history, and it does seem to promise the permanence of the totem post in another form among the natives of the coast. One of the wooden totem posts may be seen standing in front of a curiosity shop in the main street of Winnipeg, another is deposited in the museum of the Canadian Institute, and several of them were exhibited at the World's Fair.

James Deans, who is an authority upon the subject of carved columns among the coast tribes, has interpreted the figures upon the totem poles at the World's Fair. Concerning one of these columns, which formerly stood in an Indian town, on the Naas. River, he says: " The inscription alongside of this column reads thus, 'Totem pole, or heraldic column, of the Tsiw Indians.' The figures represent, counting from below upward, as follows : First, the raven; second, dog-fish; third, man; fourth, wolf; fifth, the killer-whale; and sixth, eagle. On the above-mentioned column, reading from below, the first is the carving of an Indian with his head encircled by feathers. This represents the party to whom belonged the house in front of which this column stood. The second figure is the raven, called by these people ' caugh.' This—the raven—is the phratry or principal crest, along with the eagle phratry, of all these people. The next is the dog-fish, which, along with the raven phratry, was the crest of the man who had this house built for himself. The third figure is a man, perhaps designed to represent the man whose portrait this was, and to show that he belonged to the tribe amongst whom the house was built. By saying this, I take a Haida standpoint; with the Sinesheans it may be different, although I hardlv think so. The next or fourth figure above is a wolf. This is the erest of the wolf gens or crest. How it came to be placed there I can hardly say. This liiueh I know, it showed a connection with that crest, or, in other words, a connection between the party who built this house and the clan bearing the wolf crest. The fifth figure is a woman with head-dress, and is evidently a figure of the housewife. Above her is a figure of a killer or fin-back whale with two young ones, one on each side of its mouth. The sixth figure is the crest of the wife. The young ones show her to have had a family, which, like herself, would have the whale crest. The next or seventh figure is that of a woman, showing that the wife Avas connected by birth with the tribe in which she lived. The upper or last figure is the eagle, and designates the phratry to which she belonged."

The clan totems were sometimes tattooed on the person of the clansman. The Iroquois tattooed the totem 011 his body.*}* Indeed, the origin of tattooing seems to have had a religious significance, and is based 011 the totem system.}: It Avas also painted upon the houses and tents. The Iroquois painted the clan totem in black or red upon the gable end of the cabin, the Thlinkeets ornamented their houses with heraldic symbols and allegorical and historical figures, the Haidas painted their totems on the front of their houses, and the posts which supported the platform upon Avhich the houses were raised were carved and painted Avith totemic and historical designs, and the Nootkas followed the same custom. Among these tribes of the western coast the entrance of the house was sometimes through the body of a fish, and sometimes the image of the thunder bird, with spreading wings, was carved over the doorway. The Bella Bellas and Bella Coolas carved the entrance of their houses with mythological figures and totemie devices; and the Kwakiutls of Vancouver Island, instead of erecting totem posts, painted their crests on the front of their houses. The tattoo marks of the Haidas are skilfully done upon the bodies of men and women, and every mark has its meaning, the designs upon the hands and arms of the women indicating the clan to which they belong. The simple dots and straight lines on the hands, arms and faces of the women of the North-West coast have no particular significance, yet the more elaborate designs distinguish the tribes. Seldom are the designs seen by white people or understood, as the bodies of the natives are only exposed at their festivals and masquerades, and the Haidas, as well as the other tribes on the coast, are careful not to permit the intrusion of white persons or strangers. Few white people have ever witnessed the extent and variety of the tattoo designs on account of this prohibition. The Osages have a secret order, whose members preserve some of their traditions by tattooing symbols upon the throat and chest.

The Indians were in the habit of signing their names to treaties and letters by their individual totem. This can be seen in a series of drawings in the library of the Army Medical Museum of the United States, narrating the deeds of Sitting Bull, and in some of the letters and picture writing of the Cree Indians, f Rude pictographs on cliffs and in eaves contained the totems of the Indians. When the natives visited the famous pipestone quarry of Minnesota for the purpose of securing catlinite, they left inscriptions upon the cliffs in the vicinity, which were probably their totems. Several eaves in Minnesota and Iowa, described by 'Mr. T. H. Lewis, contain inscriptions which resemble the totems of modern tribes. Sometimes the necklaces worn by the male members of the clans were used as a craft symbol, an emblem of honor, or a clan totem. The clan totem was sometimes painted upon the stem of the pipe, along with other symbolic pictographs. The ethgy builders shaped their totems in extensive mounds of earth, resembling the animal or bird totem. The head-dress of the hunter or warrior might show the clan totem, the clans of the lowas dressing their hair according to their split totem, as the lilack-feet exhibited the personal totem by a bird or animal worn upon the hair or war bonnet. The Thlinkeuts disguised themselves in the form of their animal totems when they went to dance. Some tribes put the skin of their animal totem upon their lodges and others dressed themselves in it when they went to war. The Dakotas painted their clan and personal totems, as may be seen in the pictographs on the Dakota Winter Count. The Blackfeet and Dakotas made totemie figures upon the prairie of small stones, some of these covering a large area. Solitary stones were also used as clan totems, as the Onondaga stone of the Iroquois.

The use of totems is widely diffused, the ancient Egyptians and Greeks employing animal totems, and traces of totemie worship have been found in the names of Christians and pagans in the Roman catacombs.19 The New Zealanders have carved posts at the eaves of their houses, and carved totemie figures covering the front of them. Totemism widely prevailed in Australia, among the Zunis, the Mound-Builders, the Iroquois, Algonquins and the tribes in British Columbia and Alaska. The Iroquois polity was based upon the totemie system and attained a high degree of perfection. It seems, however, to have been somewhat modified at times, clans having been divided and new totems taken, or the clans having been absorbed by others and the totems combined. The Malicetes and Micmacs carved their clan totems on pipes made of soapstone, as well as upon other articles. A soapstone pipe carved by one of the eastern natives represented the otter, beaver and musk-rat as totems. The Ojibways carved their totems upon blocks of wood and placed them upon the houses which covered their graves. The Ojibways had originally five totems, which have increased to twenty-one.

The Bear clan was the most numerous in the tribe. It was believed that the clans partook of the nature of the animal totems: the Bear clan being ill-tempered, the Crane clan having loud voices, and the Loon clan wearing wampum around the neck to resemble the white collar of the loon. The marten, moose and reindeer totems are included under the generic term of " Monsonceg."20 The Crees, Blackfeet, Western Den&s and other tribes in Western Canada have totemie symbols, but totemism does not prevail so extensively amongst the tribes on the northern lakes and forests as among those on the northwest coast and in the east. It is in British Columbia where the totemie symbols are most extensively used, as in the carved columns, and the Haidas excel in the art of carving the totem posts. The origin of this system of perpetuating the mythology, clan name, family history and individual exploits upon the totemie columns is unknown, but it is believed that a spirit revealed to one of the chiefs, in the days when the people lived in cold huts, the plan of a house in detail. The chief and his tribe provided the necessary material for the house, when the same spirit appeared again with an addition to the plan. James Deans, in relating this tradition, says: "Just as they were about to build the same visitor appeared to the chief and again showed him the plan, with this difference: a carved column was placed in front of the house, with his crest (a raven) carved on top. Underneath the raven was a second carving, the crest of his wife, an eagle. Lower down still were the crests of his father and mother, and also those of his wife's family. While showing him the plan his adviser from the celestial sphere told him that not only was his tribe or himself to build houses like the one shown, but all the people in every village were to build the same and to set up columns. Slowly, but surely, as the old huts were pulled down, new-styled ones took their places, each one having one or more columns. One had the husband's crest and that of his parents; the other had the wife's crest and that of her parents underneath." Totem posts have been erected in great abundance in Alaska.

The totems of the Indians embody some of their myths, and besides the crests which represent their mythology, there are mythological designs carved upon the heraldic columns. The totemic figures carry a story with them. This relation between the myths and totems exists among the Shoshonees, Micmacs and British Columbia tribes. The myths and the symbols served to perpetuate their remembrance among the people. As an illustration of this relationship, Dr. Boaz relates a myth of the bear gens of the Tshimpseans: "An Indian went mountain goat hunting. When he had reached a remote mountain range he met a black bear, who took him to his home, taught him how to catch salmon, and how to build boats. Two years the man stayed with the bear; then he returned to his village. All people were afraid of him, for he looked just like a bear. One man, however, caught him and took him home. He could not speak, and could not eat anything but raw food. Then they rubbed him with magic herbs, and he was re transformed into the shape of a man. Thenceforth, when he was in want he went into the woods and his friend, the bear, helped him. In winter, when the rivers were frozen, he caught plenty of salmon. He built a house and painted the bear on the front of it. His sister made a dancing blanket, the design of which represented a bear. Therefore the descendants of his sister use the bear for their crest."* Interesting stories of adventures as human beings are told by the Haidas about the raven, whale, wolf and salmon, which were animal totems of these people.


Canada is the land of sport and adventure. Its lakes and rivers teem with fish, the mountains and forests abound with animals; the climate varies from the warm and humid temperature of Ontario and British Columbia to the frigid atmosphere in the northern land of eternal ice and snow; and the scenery of the Thousand Islands, the beautiful lakes of Muskoka and the Thunder Bay district, and the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains cannot be surpassed. Sportsmen and tourists in search of health and recreation seek their favorite haunts in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the rugged landscapes of Muskoka attract the lovers of quiet nooks; the disciples of Izaac Walton congregate at Nepigon and the trout streams of Western Algoma; and the more adventurous hie away to the Rocky Mountains or the northern districts of Manitoba, the North-West Territories, Athabasca and British Columbia, where they build a hut or pitch their tents and solicit pleasure in the pursuit of the larger kinds of game. In the Rocky Mountains, the barren grounds of Northern Canada and upon the shores of the Arctic sea the bear seeks a secluded home, unseen by few save the intrepid white hunter or Indian. The barren ground bear frequents the barren grounds lying to the north of the wooded lands, and in the summer haunts the shores of the Arctic sea; the polar bear spends the greater part of its life in pursuit of the different kinds of seal among the fields of ice, and the black bear roams in the mountains and forests of the west.

The hardy trapper has followed the rivers eastward and westward in quest of the sagacious little beaver, whose patience, cunning and skill is the admiration of the native, as the valuable skin is highly prized by civilized man. Roasted beaver is a prime dish for the red man. There is 110 animal, not even the buffalo, which has influenced man and changed the face of the country as this industrious worker. He has bridged rivers, felled the trees in the forests, aroused the greed of gain, compelling men to organize companies to persecute him in driving him from his quiet retreat. The skill and patience of the beaver is shown in the formation of dams, and excavating vaults on the margin of the rivers and ponds as places of safety. He is the civil engineer among the quadrupeds, and the social leader. Uniting in companies under the guidance of a master, from whose ranks the lazy beaver is expelled, they formed their colony for the purpose of building a dam to flood the stream, so as to give them an abundant supply of water in the winter, and to excavate the beaver-house. The white trappers and red men have studied his habits so well that his skill was no

match for their perseverance, and in the west and east they have become scarce; but in the district of Peace River and along the Mackenzie they still abound in great numbers, although nearly thirty thousand skins are annually exported. The mountain sheep and goats roam in the recesses of the Rocky Mountains, and these animals possess the striking peculiarity: that the goat bears a very fine wool, well adapted for the manufacturers of shawls; and the sheep has a close„ brittle hair, like the caribou. The sheep have such heavy horns that when closely pursued they will dash over a precipice and alight upon them, without breakage or harm to themselves, and, springing upon their feet, bound away. Various kinds of deer, including the moose, wapiti, antelope, jumping-deer and fallow-deer range south of the barren grounds in the wooded country, and the musk-ox and caribou find their favorite resort- -in the barren grounds and northward. The wapiti, known amongst the Cree Indians as "wawaskish," frequents the plains of the Saskatchewan, northward and westward. The buffalo,, moose and' caribou were known to the Mound-Builders, as the grazing-places of these animals are shown by the effigies chiefly located in the State of Wisconsin. Effigies of these animals, are found in their peculiar haunts, and game-drives have been discovered which were erected by the Mound-Builders for hunting them. These game-drives varied for the different amimals, the moose game-drives being mainly elevated roadways on the hills, connected by parallel walls in the bottom lands; and the buffalo game-drives being situated on the banks of rivers near the fords, so that the hunters could shoot them as the herds, passed down the banks.

The reindeer or caribou frequent northern Keewatin and Athabasca, the larger variety inhabiting the mountains and forests of the north, and the smaller kind existing on the barren grounds, travelling to the shores and islands of the Arctic sea in summer, and retiring to the woods in winter. The caribou feeds upon grass and the various lichens which grow in abundance on the barren grounds. The Eskimo and Indian tribes—including the Chippewayans, Dog Rib, Swampy Crees. and Copper Indians—hunt them for food and clothing, the meat being superior to the moose and buffalo. Six or seven skins sewed together make a warm blanket, suitable to ensure comfort on the coldest night in that distant region. The female has horns as well as the male, but they are not so large, and are much less palmated.

Sir John Schultz asserts that the barren ground caribou of northern Keewatin are identical with the domesticated reindeer of northern Norway, Sweden, Lapland and the Asian Arctic littoral farther east. As the United States Government have made a successful experiment of introducing among the Eskimo of Alaska eighty Russian reindeer as the nucleus of herds for the supply of food and clothing and for travelling, the intention being to distribute so soon as the herds are large enough,, fifty head at each of the missionary stations, Sir John Schultz is anxious that the Canadian Government should seek to domesticate a few of our barren-ground caribou, that they might be of service to the Eskimos and Indians, and thus provide against lack of food or clothing for the dwellers in the North Land. Vast herds of caribou roam over the barren grounds of the north at the present day. Warburton Pike, in 1890, penetrated the almost unknown land of the caribou and musk-ox, and in the account of his journey he speaks of the countless herds of caribou. " Scattered bands of caribou were almost always in sight from the top of the ridge behind the camp, and increased in numbers till the morning of October 20th, when Baptiste, who had gone for firewood, woke us up before daylight with the cry of "La foule! La foule!" and even in the lodge we could hear the curious clatter made by a band of travelling caribou. La foule had really come, and during its passage of six days I was able to realize what an extraordinary number of these animals still roam in the barren ground. From the ridge we had a splendid view of the migration ; all the south side of Mackay Lake was alive with moving beasts, while the ice seemed to be dotted all over with black islands, and still away on the north shore, with the aid of glasses, we could see them coming like regiments on the march-

In every direction we could hear the grunting noise that the caribou always make when travelling : the snow was broken into broad roads, and I found it useless to try to estimate the number that passed within a few miles of our encampment."

The barren grounds lying between the sixtieth parallel and the Arctic sea is the range of the musk-ox, the hardiest of all the animals of that northern region, whose skin and horns seldom seen by civilized man. The animal resembles in size the Highland Scotch cattle. The head is lame and broad, with heavy horns which cover the crown and brow, and the body is coated with long and thick brown or black hair, curling on the shoulders and hanging down the sides and reaching half way down the legs. They are massive-looking animals, congregating in large herds, from ten to seventy in number, during April, at which time they are very wild ; but in June the herds are smaller, often composed of cows and calves, and are tame even to stupidity. Unconscious of fear, apparently through their infrequent contact with man and the solitude of their range, it is sometimes possible to walk within a few yards of them, and when the herd is fired into they will run a short distance and quietly commence grazing. With head erect, clad in thickly matted hair and with short legs, the animal walks with a curious rolling motion. He is of uncertain temper, and when aroused is a formidable antagonist. When frightened he win .scale the rocks and precipitous slopes with great agility, and when assembled in herds, under the leadership of two or three old bulls, their manoeuvres are quick and regular as a squadron of cavalry, the horns massed together presenting a formidable front. Warburton Pike, describing his first meeting with the musk-ox, says : "After travelling about three miles through some rough hills, we caught an indistinct view of the musk-ox, fully a hundred in number, standing on a side hill from which most of the snow had drifted away; and then followed a wonderful scene, such as 1 believe no white man has ever looked on before. Everybody started on a run, but the dogs, which had been let out of harness, were ahead of us, and the first thing I made out clearly through the driving snow was a dense, black mass galloping right at us. The band had proved too big for the dogs to hold, and most of the musk-oxen had broken away. I do not think they knew anything about men, or had the least intention of charging us, but they passed within ten yards, and so frightened my companions that I was the only man to fire at them, rolling over a couple. The dogs, however, were still holding a small lot at bay, and these we slaughtered without any more trouble than killing cattle in a yard."

The male measures from base of horns to the root of the tail generally seven feet, and the female five feet. Some of these animals are white. Underneath the long hair there is a beautiful fine fur, softer and finer than the finest alpaca, and much longer in the staple. As they rush down the steep declivities they will slide on their hams, and arrest their rapid descent by the use of their magnificent shield of horn which spreads across their forehead. When confronted by a foe, they will pack themselves closely together under the leadership of an old bull and follow his directions. Captain McClintock describes the death-struggle of one of these animals in the account of his sledge-journey: " We saw and shot two very large musk bulls, a well-timed supply, as the last of the venison was used this morning. We found them to be in better condition than any we had ever seen. I shall never forget the death-struggle of one of the noble bulls. A Spanish bull-fight gives no idea of it, and even the slaughter of the bear is tame in comparison. This animal was shot through the lungs, and blood gushed from his nostrils upon the snow. As it stood fiercely watching us, prepared to yet unable to charge; its small but fixed glaring eyes were almost concealed by masses of shaggy hair, and its whole frame was fearfully convulsed with agony; the tremulous motion was communicated to its enormous covering of tangled wool and hair; even the coarse, thick mane seem to rise indignant and slowly waved from side to side. It seemed as if the very fury of its passion was pent up within it for one final—a revengeful—charge. There was no roaring ; the majestic beast was dumb; but the wild gleam of savage fire which shot from his eyes and his menacing attitude was far more terrible than the most hideous bellow. We watched in silence, for time was doing our work ; nor did we venture to lower our guns until, his strength becoming exhausted, he reeled and fell. I have never witnessed such an intensity of rage, nor imagined for one moment that such an apparently stupid brute, under any circumstances of pain and passion, could have presented such a truly appalling spectacle. It is almost impossible to conceive a more terrific sight than that which was presented to us in the dying moments of this matchless denizen of these northern wilds."

The moose is the largest of the American deer, and ranges on the western continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and in the northern districts of Keewatin and Athabasca, following the Mackenzie River to the shores of the Arctic sea, but it never enters the barren grounds. It is larger than a horse, standing five and six feet high at the shoulders, measuring about seven feet from the nose to the root of the tail, with a head resembling an enormous jackass fully two feet in length, having massive antlers from four to six feet at the widest part, broadly palmated, weighing from fifty to sixty pounds, a short stout neck and long legs which prevent it from feeding close to the ground. When full grown the animal will weigh from one thousand to twelve hundred pounds. Its brown fur is thick and coarse, and is longest at the neck and shoulders. It is an awkward, clumsy creature as it travels along with a shambling gait, yet there is a majesty about it, as it carries its antlers horizontally and so well that they are not entangled in the branches of the trees. When walking quietly it is so stealthy that it will not touch a dead twig. It can jump, trot and run easily, and when pursued is exceedingly fleet, leaving horses and dogs far behind. It can swim well, and when unable to reach the tops of the young trees as it browses in the forest, it will ride them, bearing them down with its weight. It lives chiefly on the tender buds and twigs of the willow and birch and the leaves of trees. When the snow is deep, a moose-yard is formed by treading down the snow within a small area, leaving it in a kind of wall, surrounding the family of five or six which together congregate'. It is a very shy and timid creature, fleeing at the sight of man, and travels with great speed in time of danger. Possessed of an acuteness in hearing and smell, it is difficult to get near it, and the expert hunter has to exercise great care and craftiness in approaching a moose-yard or hunting in the forest, except in spring, when a crust has been formed on the snow, which is easily broken, and then as it falls repeatedly in running it can be overtaken by dogs and the Indian on his snowshoes. It can be most easily approached when sadly tormented by mosquitoes. At the rutting season the male becomes a formidable foe, attacking man or any animal that comes in his way. The flesh is the best and most juicy, except that of the reindeer, when in season, the tongue and nose especially being regarded as delicacies, and the tanned hide makes the best leather for moccasins and breeches. When caught young it can be easily domesticated, and may be used in drawing a sledge. Large numbers of them are still found in the northern portions of Manitoba and in Keewatin. In the forests that clothe the long range of mountains north of the Assiniboine River, and about the head waters of the rivers that flow north of Lake Winnipegosis they still roam in considerable numbers. The Indians located on the Reserve north of Birtle, near the spruce forests inhabited by the moose, make a business of catching the fawns. Taking a pony and cart, with a milch cow tied to the cart, the Indian starts for the forest, and wdien he has travelled as far as the road is passable the cart and cow are left behind, and mounting his pony he seeks the place of retreat which the female moose has selected for herself and the fawns. It is customary for the female moose, as it is with other kinds of deer and the wild cows on the ranches of the wrest, to hide her young while she is absent feeding, and the hunter calmly waits until evening, after finding traces of the presence of the animals, when he is awarded by hearing the mother calling her young, and discovers the place of safety. In the early dawn, before the female moose has left her retreat, an attempt is made to capture one or both of the young, and when successful, the young moose is taken to the cart, where, after the excitement is over, it is placed on a bed of soft hay, fastened simply with a strap around its neck, and it takes kindly to the cow, who suckles it as her own calf. In a short time it becomes tame enough to go at large with the cattle. A short time ago, an inspector of Indian agencies was surprised to see a full grown moose enter the home of one of the Indians, where it had been tamed and become the pet of the family.

Two years ago, as the captain of one of the fishing steamboats belonging to Rat Portage was sailing on the Lake of the Woods, he was surprised to see two full grown moose swimming from one island to another, and he at once gave chase. Being anxious if possible to capture them alive, the captain pursued and overtook them, and a lasso was thrown over the neck of one of them, who, on being aware of his seizure, began to bellow and lash the water at a fearful rate. His companion was making for the shore at the rate of fifteen miles an hour, but upon hearing the cries of the captured one, turned back to help him. In the desperate struggle the rope broke and the chase was continued, the moose swimming rapidly, bellowing loudly all the time, and leaping out of the water in their efforts to escape. They were pursued for more than half an hour, when the captain decided to grant them their liberty, and allowed them to reach the shore unmolested. Within one day's drive from the city of Winnipeg the moose congregate in hundreds, passing the village of Stoney Mountain to the township of Greenwood, where stretches of timber enclose the farms. The moose are hunted by the farmers. Beyond this district lie lakes Manitoba and Winnipeg, and in the forests adjacent to them these timid creatures roam in their solitude, unrestrained and seldom pursued. Colonel Bedson, during his residence as warden of the Penitentiary at Stoney Mountain, domesticated some of these animals, and a pair of two-year-old females were broken by him to bit, bridle and harness, and were capable of being driven like horses to a buggy or cutter. These were sent to Montreal and daily driven in the processions connected with the carnival.

The Indians of Round Lake sometimes hunt the moose in the Riding Mountains with success. The animals have disappeared from the Kootenay district, but they are still abundant in the northern part of the Territories and in Athabasca. The annual trade in moose skins in Athabasca amounts to nearly two thousand. Between four and five hundred moose are consumed every year at the forts of the Hudson's Bay Company in the Peace River District, and four times that number are consumed by the Indians who reside there, and still it is probable that there are as many moose in that district as there were half a century ago. When Captain Back was gliding with his companions down the Petite Riviere a Jean, the sharp sight of the Indians detected a moose ahead of them, and La Prise, a Chippewayan, being a skilful hunter, went in pursuit. A short time afterwards, when the company were encamped, they were startled by a long shrill whoop, which Louison, the interpreter, said announced that La Prise had been successful. When the hunter approached in his canoe the interpreter inquired if he had been successful, and the Chippewayan answered in the negative, " Oolah." The interpreter, in a disappointed tone, replied: "Oolahl Monsieur, il a manqud" ("Whoever heard the whoop without its accompanying prey?") La Prise answered by handing him the gun from one hand, and presenting the tine tongue and nose of a moose, saying, "There; I shot it through the heart, through an opening between the trees not wider than my hand; but it was with your gun and ammunition which, according to our customs, you know, makes it your property. I thought the chief would like to have the tongue and nose, and the rest lies at the bottom of the canoe for your disposal." This adherence to custom reveals the character of the Indians, as they had hardly eaten anything for several days, and the few scraps of food which remained would scarcely suffice for a single meal, but Captain Back gave the larger portion of the animal to La Prise and his party. Moose walk at the rate of four miles an hour, even in woods so thick that it is difficult to understand how they can escape from getting their horns entangled in the branches of the trees. The Micmacs of Nova Scotia and the Indians of Iveewatin and Athabasca are the best hunters of the moose. Hunting the moose is exciting and difficult, as it is impossible to see any great distance in the thick forest, and though the wind may be howling through the tree tops, and the trees rustling and groaning as they are swayed backward and forward, let the hunter tread on a rotten stick and the moose will easily detect it from other sounds and speedily depart. In creeping toward the animals, following closely the tracks in the snow, the hunter has to be exceedingly careful, as they may have doubled and got his wind, and he must study the situation by keeping to the leeward of the moose-yard, and quartering his ground against the wind. The Indians living near the Arctic sea were accustomed to place rows of moss upon the ice to keep deer in a particular direction. Sometimes the deer were caught in a pound, in much the same fashion as the tribes on the prairies entrapped and slew the buffalo before they became possessed of firearms. A well frequented deer-path was selected, which was enclosed by a stout fence of trees and brushwood, a mile or more in circumference, having within labyrinthine hedges with openings guarded with snares of twisted thongs. From the narrow entrance to the pound two arms, several miles in length, made of trees and brushwood, gradually widening, extended. The Indians repaired to an elevated position where they could see the deer, and when a herd was discovered, men, women and children arranged themselves so as to get behind them, and then with shouting and running they were driven into the pound, where they were easily despatched by the Indians.

The Carrier Indians usually hunt bears, caribou and moose with dogs. Father Morice, describing the method pursued by the Sekanais of the north in hunting the caribou, says, " They previously set in a continuous line forty or fifty moose hide snares in suitable defiles or passes in the mountains frequented by the animals. Two of the most active hunters are then deputed to watch at either end of the line, after which the hunters, who usually number fifteen or more, drive the band of deer or caribou to where the snares are set, and by loud shouting and firing of guns they scare and thereby force the reluctant game to pass through the noose, which at once contracts around their necks. The deer immediately scamper away with the moveable sticks to which the snares are attached, and which, being soon caught among fallen or standing trees or other obstacles, cause the animal to stop suddenly with the result of being strangled to death in a short time." When the Eskimos desire to preserve the meat of the animals killed they are accustomed to sink shafts or wells for that purpose. The Indians of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick practise three modes of hunting the moose, termed: Still-hunting, fire-hunting, and calling. Still-hunting, or creeping upon the moose, requires skill, courage and endurance, as a thorough knowledge of the habits of the animal is needed, but it is the most delightful, exhilarating and humane. Fire-hunting is practised by burning bunches of birch bark in places frequented by these animals, or by placing a torch in the bow of a canoe. All kinds of deer are animated by curiosity to discover the cause of anything strange to them. I have gone with the hunter of deer into the ravines on the prairie, and upon seeing a band of antelope beyond the range of our rifles, we have taken a hat or handkerchief, and placing it upon the muzzle of the gun put the butt on the ground, and the animals have ceased running and come toward us. Allured by the torchlight the moose will stand or draw near to satisfy his curiosity ; and during the moments of exploration will very likely Jail a victim to the hunter's skill. Calling the moose is the Indian's prerogative, as a white man seldom acquires the art, and few among the young men of the native tribes are successful moose callers. A moose will answer a low call much more readily at some times than others, and unsuspiciously will he come long distances. A piece of birch bark is formed into a horn, and with this simple instrument the Indian will imitate the plaintive lowing of the female moose, and the responsive bellow of the male. A low call made when the moose is pausing, uncertain whether to proceed or retreat, is a difficult thing for even an Indian, and it is a time of excitement, as a false note will be quickly detected by the acute ear of the animal. An old Indian will place the small end of his birchen horn to his lips, and the other upon the ground to deaden the sound, and with his cheeks puffed up as he pours volumes of wind into the horn, he will produce a low and far-off sounding series of grunts or calls. Only a native can detect the imitation call. If the call is successful the male will be heard crashing through the forest, rattling his horns against the trees as a challenge to his rivals, and bellowing loudly as he advances. Should the imitation be a poor one, he will not respond.

Colonel Butler, in The Wild North Land, touches upon moose hunting among the Indians of Peace River: "To hunt the moose requires years of study. Here is the little game which his instinct teaches him. When the early morning has come he begins to think of lying down for the day. He has been feeding on the grey and golden willow tops as he walked leisurely along. His track is marked in the snow or soft clay; he carefully retraces his footsteps, and, breaking off suddenly to the leeward side, lies down a gun shot from his feeding track. He knows he must get the wind of anyone following his trail. In the morning 'Twapoos,' or the Three Thumbs, sets forth to look for a moose; he hits the trail and follows it, every now and again he examines the broken willow tops or the hoof marks, when experience tells him that the moose has been feeding here during the early night. Twapoos quits the trail, bending away in a deep circle to leeward; stealthily he returns to the trail, and as stealthily bends away again from it, he makes as it were the semi-circles of the letter B, supposing the perpendicular line to indicate the trail of the moose; at each return to it he examines attentively the willows, and judges his proximity to the game. At last he is so near that he knows for an absolute certainty that the moose is lying in a thicket a little distance ahead. Now comes the moment of caution. He divests himself of every article of clothing which might cause the slightest noise in the forest; even his moccasins are laid aside; and then, on a pointed toe, which even a ballot girl might envy, he goes forward for the last stalk. Every bush is now scrutinized; every thicket examined. See! he stops all at once! You who follow him look, and look in vain; you can see nothing. He laughs to himself, and points to yon willow covert. No: there is nothing there. He noiselessly cocks his gun. You look again and again, but can see nothing; then Twapoos suddenly stretches out his hand and breaks a little dry twig from an overhanging branch. In an instant, right in front,, thirty or forty yards away, an immense dark-haired animal rises up from the willows. He gives one look in your direction, and that look is his last. Twapoos has fired, and the moose is either dead in his thicket or within a few hundred yards of it."

A story has been told of a white hunter on the Miramichi who, following the track of a moose, came suddenly upon a big one standing on the brink of a deep ravine, through which flowed a shallow stream, known as Falls Brook. Raising his rifle he pulled the trigger, but found that it was half-cock, and at that moment the moose bounded down the ravine and the hunter after him. In his haste the pursuer fell into the stream, and besides being drenched, spoiled his cartridges. The animal dashed past him up the stream, but his flight was hindered by a waterfall twenty feet high, so down the stream madly he turned and ran, only to be stopped by a fence of fallen trees. Imprisoned in the ravine, the hunter prepared to attack him with the stock of his gun or knife, but upon scanning his situation, observed a long branch of water-ash stretching across the bed of the stream, under which the moose hud to pass in his mad career. "With a sudden resolve the hunter threw aside his gun, and grasping the ash branch swung himself outward, and as the moose passed under it he dropped upon his back and clasped him around his neck. Frantic with rage he rushed up and down the stream bearing his strange rider, until completely exhausted, when he fell, and the hunter, springing to his feet, drew his knife and killed him.


The white hunter is not always so fortunate, for there is great risk of life when the moose is brought to bay, for then he will use his feet and antlers in defence, and may crush his opponent to death. Two white hunters, in the depth of winter when the snow lay three feet deep, started out on foot to hunt the moose, accompanied by two strong and valuable deer-hounds. With their snowshoes it did not take them long to reach the forest, and they were delighted with observing the tracks of a male and female moose and two fawns. As they were proceeding cautiously through the thicket they saw, at a distance of three hundred yards, the moose family, wholly unconscious of their presence. Letting the dogs loose they rushed after them, as they were unable at that distance in the woods to get a good shot. The hounds overtook them, owing to the heavy snow, and when the hunters arrived they found the male moose engaged fighting the hounds with his feet and antlers, the mother and fawns still in flight. The male started off in another direction upon the arrival of the hunters, who decided at once to separate, the one to seek the mother and fawns and the other to kill the male. The latter followed the tracks of the single animal for half-a-mile, when he found one of the dogs bleeding but fighting fiercely and the other lying dead, trampled under the feet of the infuriated animal. Upon seeing the man he ran for a short distance and then stood at bay, but taking a steady aim the hunter wounded him, which made him still more enraged, when suddenly he rushed at his opponent, who sought refuge behind a large tree. Attempting to reload his gun he found ^hat he had lost his powder flask, and there he was compelled to stay, with the angry moose upon one side of the tree and he upon the other, shivering with cold, excited with fear, and impatient for the' return of his companion. With knife in hand there he stood for more than an hour, the snow falling and partially obliterating the trail, and unable to decide what to do, yet resolved, if his companion did not soon extricate him, that he would dare the moose with his knife. As the infuriated animal stood upon one side of the tree, snorting and stamping his feet and ready to spring upon him at any moment, he heard the loud shout of his companion—who had killed the three moose and hung up their carcases—and relief soon came from his perilous position, as the animal fell with a bullet in his brain. The hunters had both of their dogs killed in the contest, and they were glad, indeed, when they reached home after their exciting adventure.

Moose hunting in Canada is the delight of tourists from across the sea, as well as the hunters of our own country, but with such a vast range and countless numbers of deer, there will elapse very many years before the moose become extinct.

Return to our Book Index Page

This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus