America and Indian race — страница 5

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or one of any of the other clans, and his children were of the Deer clan or other clan accordingly. In some tribes the name of the individual indicated the clan, as "Round Foot" in the wolf clan and "Crawler" in the Turtle clan. Certain functions of war, peace, or ceremonial were usually hereditary in special clans, and revenge for injuries with the tribe devolved upon the clan relatives of the person injured. The tribal council was made up of the hereditary or elected chiefs, and any alien taken into the tribe had to be specifically adopted into a family and clan. The clan system was by no means universal but is now known to have been limited to particular regions and seems to have been originally an artificial contrivance to protect land and other tribal

descent. It was absent almost everywhere west of the Missouri, excepting in the South-West, and appears to have been unknown throughout the geater portion of British America, the interior of Alaska, and probably among the Eskimos. Among the plains tribes, the unit was the band, whose members camped together under their own chief, in an appointed place in the tribal camp circle, and were subject to no marriage prohibition, but usually married among themselves. With a few notable exceptions, there was very little idea of tribal solidarity or supreme authority, and where a chief appears in history as tribal dictator, as in the case of Powhatan in Virginia, it was usually due to his own strong personality. The real authority was with the council as interpreters of ancient tribal

customs. Even such well-known tribes as the Creeks and Cherokee were really only aggregations of closely cognate villages, each acting independently or in cooperation with the others as suited its immediate convenience. Even in the smaller and more compact tribes there was seldom any provision for coercing the individual to secure common action, but those of the same clan or band usually acted together. In this lack of solidarity is the secret of Indian military weakness. In no Indian war in the history of the United States has a single large tribe ever united in solid resistance, while on the other hand other tribes have always been found to join against the hostiles. Among the Natchez, Tinucua, and some other southern tribes, there is more indication of a central authority,

resting probably with a dominant clan. The Iroquois of New York had progressed beyond any other native people north of Mexico in the elaboration of a state and empire. Through a carefully planned system of confederations, originating about 1570, the five allied tribes had secured internal peace and unity, by which they had been able to acquire dominant control over most of the tribes from Hudson Bay to Carolina, and if not prematurely checked by the advent of the whites, might in time have founded a northern empire to rival that of the Aztec. Land was usually held in common, except among the Pueblos, where it was apportioned among the clans, and in some tribes in northern California, where individual right is said to have existed. Timber and other natural products were free, and

hospitality was carried to such a degree that no man kept what his neighbour wanted. While this prevented extremes of poverty, on the other hand it paralyzed individual industry and economy, and was an effectual barrier to progress. The accumulation of property was further discouraged by the fact that in most tribes it was customary to destroy all the belongings of the owner at his death. The word for "brave" and "generous" was frequently the same, and along the north-west coast there existed the curious custom known as potlatch, under which a man saved for half a lifetime in order to acquire the rank of chief by finally giving away his entire hoard at a grand public feast. Enslavement of captives was more or less common throughout the country, especially in

the southern states, where the captives were sometimes crippled to prevent their escape. Along the north-west coast and as far south as California, not only the captives but their children and later descendants were slaves and might be abused or slaughtered at the will of the master, being frequently burned alive with their deceased owner, or butchered to provide a ceremonial cannibal feast. In the Southern slave states, before the Civil War, the Indians were frequent owners of negro slaves. Men and women, and sometimes even the older children, were organized into societies for military, religious, working, and social purposes, many of these being secret, especially those concerned with medicine and women's work. In some tribes there was also a custom by which two young men