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Title: On Limitations To The Use Of Some Anthropologic Data
Author: Powell, John Wesley, 1834-1902
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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       *       *       *       *       *





       *       *       *       *       *


Investigations in this department are of great interest, and have
attracted to the field a host of workers; but a general review of the
mass of published matter exhibits the fact that the uses to which the
material has been put have not always been wise.

In the monuments of antiquity found throughout North America, in camp
and village sites, graves, mounds, ruins, and scattered works of art,
the origin and development of art in savage and barbaric life may be
satisfactorily studied. Incidentally, too, hints of customs may be
discovered, but outside of this, the discoveries made have often been
illegitimately used, especially for the purpose of connecting the tribes
of North America with peoples or so-called races of antiquity in other
portions of the world. A brief review of some conclusions that must be
accepted in the present status of the science will exhibit the futility
of these attempts.

It is now an established fact that man was widely scattered over the
earth at least as early as the beginning of the quaternary period, and,
perhaps, in pliocene time.

If we accept the conclusion that there is but one species of man, as
species are now defined by biologists, we may reasonably conclude that
the species has been dispersed from some common center, as the ability
to successfully carry on the battle of life in all climes belongs only
to a highly developed being; but this original home has not yet been
ascertained with certainty, and when discovered, lines of migration
therefrom cannot be mapped until the changes in the physical geography
of the earth from that early time to the present have been discovered,
and these must be settled upon purely geologic and paleontologic
evidence. The migrations of mankind from that original home cannot be
intelligently discussed until that home has been discovered, and,
further, until the geology of the globe is so thoroughly known that the
different phases of its geography can be presented.

The dispersion of man must have been anterior to the development of any
but the rudest arts. Since that time the surface of the earth has
undergone many and important changes. All known camp and village sites,
graves, mounds, and ruins belong to that portion of geologic time known
as the present epoch, and are entirely subsequent to the period of the
original dispersion as shown by geologic evidence.

In the study of these antiquities, there has been much unnecessary
speculation in respect to the relation existing between the people to
whose existence they attest, and the tribes of Indians inhabiting the
country during the historic period.

It may be said that in the Pueblos discovered in the southwestern
portion of the United States and farther south through Mexico and
perhaps into Central America tribes are known having a culture quite as
far advanced as any exhibited in the discovered ruins. In this respect,
then, there is no need to search for an extra-limital origin through
lost tribes for any art there exhibited.

With regard to the mounds so widely scattered between the two oceans, it
may also be said that mound-building tribes were known in the early
history of discovery of this continent, and that the vestiges of art
discovered do not excel in any respect the arts of the Indian tribes
known to history. There is, therefore, no reason for us to search for an
extra-limital origin through lost tribes for the arts discovered in the
mounds of North America.

The tracing of the origin of these arts to the ancestors of known tribes
or stocks of tribes is more legitimate, but it has limitations which are
widely disregarded. The tribes which had attained to the highest culture
in the southern portion of North America are now well known to belong to
several different stocks, and, if, for example, an attempt is made to
connect the mound-builders with the Pueblo Indians, no result beyond
confusion can be reached until the particular stock of these village
peoples is designated.

Again, it is contained in the recorded history of the country that
several distinct stocks of the present Indians were mound-builders and
the wide extent and vast number of mounds discovered in the United
States should lead us to suspect, at least, that the mound-builders of
pre-historic times belonged to many and diverse stocks. With the
limitations thus indicated the identification of mound-building peoples
as distinct tribes or stocks is a legitimate study, but when we consider
the further fact now established, that arts extend beyond the boundaries
of linguistic stocks, the most fundamental divisions we are yet able to
make of the peoples of the globe, we may more properly conclude that
this field promises but a meager harvest; but the origin and development
of arts and industries is in itself a vast and profoundly interesting
theme of study, and when North American archæology is pursued with this
end in view, the results will be instructive.


The pictographs of North America were made on divers substances. The
bark of trees, tablets of wood, the skins of animals, and the surfaces
of rocks were all used for this purpose; but the great body of
picture-writing as preserved to us is found on rock surfaces, as these
are the most enduring.

From Dighton Rock to the cliffs that overhang the Pacific, these records
are found--on bowlders fashioned by the waves of the sea, scattered by
river floods, or polished by glacial ice; on stones buried in graves and
mounds; on faces of rock that appear in ledges by the streams; on cañon
walls and towering cliffs; on mountain crags and the ceilings of
caves--wherever smooth surfaces of rock are to be found in North
America, there we may expect to find pictographs. So widely distributed
and so vast in number, it is well to know what purposes they may serve
in anthropologic science.

Many of these pictographs are simply pictures, rude etchings, or
paintings, delineating natural objects, especially animals, and
illustrate simply the beginning of pictorial art; others we know were
intended to commemorate events or to represent other ideas entertained
by their authors; but to a large extent these were simply mnemonic--not
conveying ideas of themselves, but designed more thoroughly to retain in
memory certain events or thoughts by persons who were already cognizant
of the same through current hearsay or tradition. If once the memory of
the thought to be preserved has passed from the minds of men, the record
is powerless to restore its own subject-matter to the understanding.

The great body of picture-writings is thus described; yet to some slight
extent pictographs are found with characters more or less conventional,
and the number of such is quite large in Mexico and Central America. Yet
even these conventional characters are used with others less
conventional in such a manner that perfect records were never made.

Hence it will be seen that it is illegitimate to use any pictographic
matter of a date anterior to the discovery of the continent by Columbus
for historic purposes; but it has a legitimate use of profound interest,
as these pictographs exhibit the beginning of written language and the
beginning of pictorial art, yet undifferentiated; and if the scholars of
America will collect and study the vast body of this material scattered
everywhere--over the valleys and on the mountain sides--from it can be
written one of the most interesting chapters in the early history of


When America was discovered by Europeans, it was inhabited by great
numbers of distinct tribes, diverse in languages, institutions, and
customs. This fact has never been fully recognized, and writers have too
often spoken of the North American Indians as a body, supposing that
statements made of one tribe would apply to all. This fundamental error
in the treatment of the subject has led to great confusion.

Again, the rapid progress in the settlement and occupation of the
country has resulted in the gradual displacement of the Indian tribes,
so that very many have been removed from their ancient homes, some of
whom have been incorporated into other tribes, and some have been
absorbed into the body of civilized people.

The names by which tribes have been designated have rarely been names
used by themselves, and the same tribe has often been designated by
different names in different periods of its history and by different
names in the same period of its history by colonies of people having
different geographic relations to them. Often, too, different tribes
have been designated by the same name. Without entering into an
explanation of the causes which have led to this condition of things, it
is simply necessary to assert that this has led to great confusion of
nomenclature. Therefore the student of Indian history must be constantly
on his guard in accepting the statements of any author relating to any
tribe of Indians.

It will be seen that to follow any tribe of Indians through
post-Columbian times is a task of no little difficulty. Yet this portion
of history is of importance, and the scholars of America have a great
work before them.

Three centuries of intimate contact with a civilized race has had no
small influence upon the pristine condition of these savage and barbaric
tribes. The most speedy and radical change was that effected in the
arts, industrial and ornamental. A steel knife was obviously better than
a stone knife; firearms than bows and arrows; and textile fabrics from
the looms of civilized men are at once seen to be more beautiful and
more useful than the rude fabrics and undressed skins with which the
Indians clothed themselves in that earlier day.

Customs and institutions changed less rapidly. Yet these have been much
modified. Imitation and vigorous propagandism have been more or less
efficient causes. Migrations and enforced removals placed tribes under
conditions of strange environment where new customs and institutions
were necessary, and in this condition civilization had a greater
influence, and the progress of occupation by white men within the
territory of the United States, at least, has reached such a stage that
savagery and barbarism have no room for their existence, and even
customs and institutions must in a brief time be completely changed,
and what we are yet to learn of these people must be learned now.

But in pursuing these studies the greatest caution must be observed in
discriminating what is primitive from what has been acquired from
civilized man by the various processes of acculturation.


Working naturalists postulate evolution. Zoölogical research is largely
directed to the discovery of the genetic relations of animals. The
evolution of the animal kingdom is along multifarious lines and by
diverse specializations. The particular line which connects man with the
lowest forms, through long successions of intermediate forms, is a
problem of great interest. This special investigation has to deal
chiefly with relations of structure. From the many facts already
recorded, it is probable that many detached portions of this line can be
drawn, and such a construction, though in fact it may not be correct in
all its parts, yet serves a valuable purpose in organizing and directing

The truth or error of such hypothetic genealogy in no way affects the
validity of the doctrines of evolution in the minds of scientific men,
but on the other hand the value of the tentative theory is brought to
final judgment under the laws of evolution.

It would be vain to claim that the course of zoölogic development is
fully understood, or even that all of its most important factors are
known. So the discovery of facts and relations guided by the doctrines
of evolution reacts upon these doctrines, verifying, modifying, and
enlarging them. Thus it is that while the doctrines lead the way to new
fields of discovery, the new discoveries lead again to new doctrines.
Increased knowledge widens philosophy; wider philosophy increases

It is the test of true philosophy that it leads to the discovery of
facts, and facts themselves can only be known as such; that is, can only
be properly discerned and discriminated by being relegated to their
places in philosophy. The whole progress of science depends primarily
upon this relation between knowledge and philosophy.

In the earlier history of mankind philosophy was the product of
subjective reasoning, giving mythologies and metaphysics. When it was
discovered that the whole structure of philosophy was without
foundation, a new order of procedure was recommended--the Baconian
method. Perception must precede reflection; observation must precede
reason. This also was a failure. The earlier gave speculations; the
later give a mass of incoherent facts and falsehoods. The error in the
earlier philosophy was not in the order of procedure between perception
and reflection, but in the method, it being subjective instead of
objective. The method of reasoning in scientific philosophy is purely
objective; the method of reasoning in mythology and metaphysics is

The difference between man and the animals most nearly related to him in
structure is great. The connecting forms are no longer extant. This
subject of research, therefore, belongs to the paleontologists rather
than the ethnologists. The biological facts are embraced in the
geological record, and this record up to the present time has yielded
but scant materials to serve in its solution.

It is known that man, highly differentiated from lower animals in
morphologic characteristics, existed in early Quaternary and perhaps in
Pliocene times, and here the discovered record ends.


In philology, North America presents the richest field in the world, for
here is found the greatest number of languages distributed among the
greatest number of stocks. As the progress of research is necessarily
from the known to the unknown, civilized languages were studied by
scholars before the languages of savage and barbaric tribes. Again, the
higher languages are written and are thus immediately accessible. For
such reasons, chief attention has been given to the most highly
developed languages. The problems presented to the philologist, in the
higher languages, cannot be properly solved without a knowledge of the
lower forms. The linguist studies a language that he may use it as an
instrument for the interchange of thought; the philologist studies a
language to use its data in the construction of a philosophy of
language. It is in this latter sense that the higher languages are
unknown until the lower languages are studied, and it is probable that
more light will be thrown upon the former by a study of the latter than
by more extended research in the higher.

The vast field of unwritten languages has been explored but not
surveyed. In a general way it is known that there are many such
languages, and the geographic distribution of the tribes of men who
speak them is known, but scholars have just begun the study of the

That the knowledge of the simple and uncompounded must precede the
knowledge of the complex and compounded, that the latter may be rightly
explained, is an axiom well recognized in biology, and it applies
equally well to philology. Hence any system of philology, as the term is
here used, made from a survey of the higher languages exclusively, will
probably be a failure. "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit
unto his stature," and which of you by taking thought can add the
antecedent phenomena necessary to an explanation of the language of
Plato or of Spencer?

The study of astronomy, geology, physics, and biology, is in the hands
of scientific men; objective methods of research are employed and
metaphysic disquisitions find no place in the accepted philosophies;
but to a large extent philology remains in the hands of the
metaphysicians, and subjective methods of thought are used in the
explanation of the phenomena observed. If philology is to be a science
it must have an objective philosophy composed of a homologic
classification and orderly arrangement of the phenomena of the languages
of the globe.

Philologic research began with the definite purpose in view to discover
in the diversities of language among the peoples of the earth a common
element from which they were all supposed to have been derived, an
original speech, the parent of all languages. In this philologists had
great hopes of success at one time, encouraged by the discovery of the
relation between the diverse branches of the Aryan stock, but in this
very work methods of research were developed and doctrines established
by which unexpected results were reached.

Instead of relegating the languages that had before been unclassified to
the Aryan family, new families or stocks were discovered, and this
process has been carried on from year to year until scores or even
hundreds, of families are recognized, and until we may reasonably
conclude that there was no single primitive speech common to mankind,
but that man had multiplied and spread throughout the habitable earth
anterior to the development of organized languages; that is, languages
have sprung from innumerable sources after the dispersion of mankind.

The progress in language has not been by multiplication, which would be
but a progress in degradation under the now well-recognized laws of
evolution; but it has been in integration from a vast multiplicity
toward a unity. True, all evolution has not been in this direction.
There has often been degradation as exhibited in the multiplicity of
languages and dialects of the same stock, but evolution has in the
aggregate been integration by progress towards unity of speech, and
differentiation (which, must always be distinguished from
multiplication) by specialization of the grammatic process and the
development of the parts of speech.

When a people once homogeneous are separated geographically in such a
manner that thorough inter-communication is no longer preserved, all of
the agencies by which languages change act separately in the distinct
communities and produce different changes therein, and dialects are
established. If the separation continues, such dialects become distinct
languages in the sense that the people of one community are unable to
understand the people of another. But such a development of languages is
not differentiation in the sense in which this term is here used, and
often used in biology, but is analogous to multiplication as understood
in biology. The differentiation of an organ is its development for a
special purpose, _i. e._, the organic, specialization is concomitant
with functional specialization. When paws are differentiated into hands
and feet, with the differentiation of the organs, there is a concomitant
differentiation in the functions.

When one language becomes two, the same function is performed by each,
and is marked by the fundamental characteristic of multiplication,
_i. e._, degradation; for the people originally able to communicate with
each other can no longer thus communicate; so that two languages do not
serve as valuable a purpose as one. And, further, neither of the two
languages has made the progress one would have made, for one would have
been developed sufficiently to serve all the purposes of the united
peoples in the larger area inhabited by them, and, _coeteris paribus_,
the language spoken by many people scattered over a large area must be
superior to one spoken by a few people inhabiting a small area.

It would have been strange, indeed, had the primitive assumption in
philology been true, and the history of language exhibited universal

In the remarks on the "Origin of Man," the statement was made that
mankind was distributed throughout the habitable earth, in some
geological period anterior to the present and anterior to the
development of other than the rudest arts. Here, again, we reach the
conclusion that man was distributed throughout the earth anterior to the
development of organized speech.

In the presence of these two great facts, the difficulty of tracing
genetic relationship among human races through arts, customs,
institutions, and traditions will appear, for all of these must have
been developed after the dispersion of mankind. Analogies and homologies
in these phenomena must be accounted for in some other way. Somatology
proves the unity of the human species; that is, the evidence upon which
this conclusion is reached is morphologic; but in arts, customs,
institutions, and traditions abundant corroborative evidence is found.
The individuals of the one species, though inhabiting diverse climes,
speaking diverse languages, and organized into diverse communities, have
progressed in a broad way by the same stages, have had the same arts,
customs, institutions, and traditions in the same order, limited only by
the degree of progress to which the several tribes have attained, and
modified only to a limited extent by variations in environment.

If any ethnic classification of mankind is to be established more
fundamental than that based upon language, it must be upon physical
characteristics, and such must have been acquired by profound
differentiation anterior to the development of languages, arts, customs,
institutions, and traditions. The classifications hitherto made on this
basis are unsatisfactory, and no one now receives wide acceptance.
Perhaps further research will clear up doubtful matters and give an
acceptable grouping; or it may be that such research will result only in
exhibiting the futility of the effort.

The history of man, from the lowest tribal condition to the highest
national organization, has been a history of constant and multifarious
admixture of strains of blood; of admixture, absorption, and destruction
of languages with general progress toward unity; of the diffusion of
arts by various processes of acculturation; and of admixture and
reciprocal diffusion of customs, institutions, and traditions. Arts,
customs, institutions, and traditions extend beyond the boundaries of
languages and serve to obscure them, and the admixture of strains of
blood has obscured primitive ethnic divisions, if such existed.

If the physical classification fails, the most fundamental grouping left
is that based on language; but for the reasons already mentioned and
others of like character, the classification of languages is not, to the
full extent, a classification of peoples.

It may be that the unity of the human race is a fact so profound that
all attempts at a fundamental classification to be used in all the
departments of anthropology will fail, and that there will remain
multifarious groupings for the multifarious purposes of the science; or,
otherwise expressed, that languages, arts, customs, institutions, and
traditions may be classified, and that the human family will be
considered as one race.


Here again America presents a rich field for the scientific explorer. It
is now known that each linguistic stock has a distinct mythology, and as
in some of these stocks there are many languages differing to a greater
or less extent, so there are many like differing mythologies.

As in language, so in mythology, investigation has proceeded from, the
known to the unknown--from the higher to the lower mythologies. In each
step of the progress of opinion on this subject a particular phenomenon
may be observed. As each lower status of mythology is discovered it is
assumed to be the first in origin, the primordial mythology, and all
lower but imperfectly understood mythologies are interpreted as
degradations, from this assumed original belief; thus polytheism was
interpreted as a degeneracy from monotheism; nature worship, from
psychotheism; zoölotry, from ancestor worship; and, in order, monotheism
has been held to be the original mythology, then polytheism, then
physitheism or nature worship, then ancestor worship.

With a large body of mythologists nature worship is now accepted as the
primitive religion; and with another body, equally as respectable,
ancestor worship is primordial. But nature worship and ancestor worship
are concomitant parts of the same religion, and belong to a status of
culture highly advanced and characterized by the invention of
conventional pictographs. In North America we have scores or even
hundreds of systems of mythology, all belonging to a lower state of

Let us hope that American students will not fall into this line of error
by assuming that zoötheism is the lowest stage, because this is the
status of mythology most widely spread on the continent.

Mythology is primitive philosophy. A mythology--that is, the body of
myths current among any people and believed by them--comprises a system
of explanations of all the phenomena of the universe discerned by them;
but such explanations are always mixed with much extraneous matter,
chiefly incidents in the history of the personages who were the heroes
of mythologic deeds.

Every mythology has for its basis a theology--a system of gods who are
the actors, and to whom are attributed the phenomena to be
explained--for the fundamental postulate in mythology is "some one does
it," such being the essential characteristic of subjective reasoning. As
peoples pass from one stage of culture to another, the change is made by
developing a new sociology with all its institutions, by the development
of new arts, by evolution of language, and, in a degree no less, by a
change in philosophy; but the old philosophy is not supplanted. The
change is made by internal growth and external accretion.

Fragments of the older are found in the newer. This older material in
the newer philosophy is often used for curious purposes by many
scholars. One such use I wish to mention here. The nomenclature which
has survived from the earlier state is supposed to be deeply and
occultly symbolic and the mythic narratives to be deeply and occultly
allegoric. In this way search is made for some profoundly metaphysic
cosmogony; some ancient beginning of the mythology is sought in which
mystery is wisdom and wisdom is mystery.

The objective or scientific method of studying a mythology is to collect
and collate its phenomena simply as it is stated and understood by the
people to whom it belongs. In tracing back the threads of its historical
development the student should expect to find it more simple and
childlike in every stage of his progress.

It is vain to search for truth in mythologic philosophy, but it is
important to search for veritable philosphies, that they may be properly
compared and that the products of the human mind in its various stages
of culture may be known; important in the reconstruction of the history
of philosophy; and important in furnishing necessary data to psychology.
No labor can be more fruitless than the search in mythology for true
philosophy; and the efforts to build up from the terminology and
narratives of mythologies an occult symbolism and system of allegory is
but to create a new and fictitious body of mythology.

There is a symbolism inherent in language and found in all philosophy,
true or false, and such symbolism was cultivated as an occult art in the
early history of civilization when picture-writing developed into
conventional writing, and symbolism is an interesting subject for study,
but it has been made a beast of burden to carry packs of metaphysic


Here again North America presents a wide and interesting field to the
investigator, for it has within its extent many distinct governments,
and these governments, so far as investigations have been carried, are
found to belong to a type more primitive than any of the feudalities
from which the civilized nations of the earth sprang, as shown by
concurrently recorded history.

Yet in this history many facts have been discovered suggesting that
feudalities themselves had an origin in something more primitive. In the
study of the tribes of the world a multitude of sociologic institutions
and customs have been discovered, and in reviewing the history of
feudalities it is seen that many of their important elements are
survivals from tribal society.

So important are these discoveries that all human history has to be
rewritten, the whole philosophy of history reconstructed. Government
does not begin in the ascendency of chieftains through prowess in war,
but in the slow specialization of executive functions from communal
associations based on kinship. Deliberative assemblies do not start in
councils gathered by chieftains, but councils precede chieftaincies. Law
does not begin in contract, but is the development of custom. Land
tenure does not begin in grants from the monarch or the feudal lord, but
a system of tenure in common by gentes or tribes is developed into a
system of tenure in severalty. Evolution in society has not been from
militancy to industrialism, but from organization based on kinship to
organization based on property, and alongside of the specializations of
the industries of peace the arts of war have been specialized.

So, one by one, the theories of metaphysical writers on sociology are
overthrown, and the facts of history are taking their place, and the
philosophy of history is being erected out of materials accumulating by
objective studies of mankind


Psychology has hitherto been chiefly in the hands of subjective
philosophers and is the last branch of anthropology to be treated by
scientific methods. But of late years sundry important labors have been
performed with the end in view to give this department of philosophy a
basis of objective facts; especially the organ of the mind has been
studied and the mental operations of animals have been compared with
those of men, and in various other ways the subject is receiving
scientific attention.

The new psychology in process of construction will have a threefold
basis: A physical basis on phenomena presented by the organ of the mind
as shown in man and the lower animals; a linguistic basis as presented
in the phenomena of language, which is the instrument of mind; a
functional basis as exhibited in operations of the mind.

The phenomena of the third class may be arranged in three subclasses.
First, the operations of mind exhibited in individuals in various stages
of growth, various degrees of culture, and in various conditions, normal
and abnormal; second, the operations of mind as exhibited in technology,
arts, and industries; third, the operations of mind as exhibited in
philosophy; and these are the explanations given of the phenomena of the
universe. On such a basis a scientific psychology must be erected.

       *       *       *       *       *

As methods of study are discovered, a vast field opens to the American
scholar. Now, as at all times in the history of civilization, there has
been no lack of interest in this subject, and no lack of speculative
writers; but there is a great want of trained observers and acute

If we lay aside the mass of worthless matter which has been published,
and consider only the material used by the most careful writers, we find
on every hand that conclusions are vitiated by a multitude of errors of
fact of a character the most simple. Yesterday I read an article on the
"Growth of Sculpture," by Grant Allen, that was charming; yet, therein I
found this statement:

     So far as I know, the Polynesians and many other savages have not
     progressed beyond the full-face stage of human portraiture above
     described. Next in rank comes the drawing of a profile, as we find
     it among the Eskimos and the bushmen. Our own children soon attain
     to this level, which is one degree higher than that of the full
     face, as it implies a special point of view, suppresses half the
     features, and is not diagrammatic or symbolical of all the separate
     parts. Negroes and North American Indians cannot understand
     profile; they ask what has become of the other eye.

Perhaps Mr. Allen derives his idea of the inability of the Indians to
understand profiles from a statement of Catlin, which I have seen used
for this and other purposes by different anthropologists until it seems
to have become a _favorite fact_.

Turning to Catlin's _Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and
Condition of the North American Indians_, (vol. 2, page 2) we find him

     After I had painted these, and many more whom I have not time at
     present to name, I painted the portrait of a celebrated warrior of
     the Sioux, by the name of Mah-to-chee-ga (the Little Bear), who was
     unfortunately slain in a few moments after the picture was done by
     one of his own tribe; and which was very near costing me my life,
     for having painted a side view of his face, leaving one-half of it
     out of the picture, which had been the cause of the affray; and,
     supposed by the whole tribe to have been intentionally left out by
     me, as "good for nothing." This was the last picture that I painted
     amongst the Sioux, and the last, undoubtedly, that I shall ever
     paint in that place. So tremendous and so alarming was the
     excitement about it that my brushes were instantly put away, and I
     embarked the next day on the steamer for the sources of the
     Missouri, and was glad to get underweigh.

Subsequently, Mr. Catlin elaborates this incident into the "Story of the
Dog" (vol. 2, page 188 _et seq_).

Now, whatsoever of truth or of fancy there may be in this story, it
cannot be used as evidence that the Indians could not understand or
interpret profile pictures, for Mr. Catlin himself gives several plates
of Indian pictographs exhibiting profile faces. In my cabinet of
pictographs I have hundreds of side views made by Indians of the same
tribe of which Mr. Catlin was speaking.

It should never be forgotten that accounts of travelers and other
persons who write for the sake of making good stories must be used with
the utmost caution. Catlin is only one of a thousand such who can be
used with safety only by persons so thoroughly acquainted with the
subject that they are able to divide facts actually observed from
creations of fancy. But Mr. Catlin must not be held responsible for
illogical deductions even from his facts. I know not how Mr. Allen
arrived at his conclusion, but I do know that pictographs in profile are
found among very many, if not all, the tribes of North America.

Now, for another example. Peschel, in _The Races of Man_ (page 151),

     The transatlantic history of Spain has no case comparable in
     iniquity to the act of the Portuguese in Brazil, who deposited the
     clothes of scarlet-fever or small-pox patients on the hunting
     grounds of the natives, in order to spread the pestilence among
     them; and of the North Americans, who used strychnine to poison the
     wells which the Redskins were in the habit of visiting in the
     deserts of Utah; of the wives of Australian settlers, who, in times
     of famine, mixed arsenic with the meal which they gave to starving

In a foot-note on the same page, Burton is given as authority for the
statement that the people of the United States poisoned the wells of the

Referring to Burton, in _The City of the Saints_ (page 474), we find him

     The Yuta claim, like the Shoshonee, descent from an ancient people
     that immigrated into their present seats from the Northwest. During
     the last thirty years they have considerably decreased, according
     to the mountaineers, and have been demoralized mentally and
     physically by the emigrants. Formerly they were friendly, now they
     are often at war with the intruders. As in Australia, arsenic and
     corrosive sublimate in springs and provisions have diminished their

Now, why did Burton make this statement? In the same volume he describes
the Mountain Meadow massacre, and gives the story as related by the
actors therein. It is well known that the men who were engaged in this
affair tried to shield themselves by diligently publishing that it was a
massacre by Indians incensed at the travelers because they had poisoned
certain springs at which the Indians were wont to obtain their supplies
of water. When Mr. Burton was in Salt Lake City he, doubtless, heard
these stories.

So the falsehoods of a murderer, told to hide his crime, have gone into
history as facts characteristic of the people of the United States in
their treatment of the Indians. In the paragraph quoted from Burton some
other errors occur. The Utes and Shoshonis do not claim to have
descended from an ancient people that immigrated into their present
seats from the Northwest. Most of these tribes, perhaps all, have myths
of their creation in the very regions now inhabited by them.

Again, these Indians have not been demoralized mentally or physically by
the emigrants, but have made great progress toward civilization.

The whole account of the Utes and Shoshonis given in this portion of the
book is so mixed with error as to be valueless, and bears intrinsic
evidence of having been derived from ignorant frontiersmen.

Turning now to the first volume of Spencer's _Principles of Sociology_
(page 149), we find him saying:

     And thus prepared, we need feel no surprise on being told that the
     Zuni Indians require "much facial contortion and bodily
     gesticulation to make their sentences perfectly intelligible;" that
     the language of the Bushman needs so many signs to eke out its
     meaning, that "they are unintelligible in the dark;" and that the
     Arapahos "can hardly converse with one another in the dark."

When people of different languages meet, especially if they speak
languages of different stocks, a means of communication is rapidly
established between them, composed partly of signs and partly of oral
words, the latter taken from one or both of the languages, but curiously
modified so as hardly to be recognized. Such conventional languages are
usually called "jargons," and their existence is rather brief.

When people communicate with each other in this manner, oral speech is
greatly assisted by sign-language, and it is true that darkness impedes
their communication. The great body of frontiersmen in America who
associate more or less with the Indians depend upon jargon methods of
communication with them; and so we find that various writers and
travelers describe Indian tongues by the characteristics of this jargon
speech. Mr. Spencer usually does.

The Zuni and the Arapaho Indians have a language with a complex grammar
and copious vocabulary well adapted to the expression of the thoughts
incident to their customs and status of culture, and they have no more
difficulty in conveying their thoughts with their language by night than
Englishmen have in conversing without gaslight. An example from each of
three eminent authors has been taken to illustrate the worthlessness of
a vast body of anthropologic material to which even the best writers

Anthropology needs trained devotees with philosophic methods and keen
observation to study every tribe and nation of the globe almost _de
novo_; and from, materials thus collected a science may be established.


  Anthropologic archæology 73, 74
     data, limitation of use of 73-86
     ethnic characteristics 76, 77
     history, customs 76, 77
     language 78-81
     mythology 81, 82
     origin of man 77, 78
     picture writing 75
     psychology 83, 86
     sociology 83

  Archæology, Limitations to the Use of, in study of anthropology 73, 74

  Ethnic characteristics, Limitations to the use of, in study of anthropology 76

  History and customs, Limitations to the use of, in study of anthropology 76, 77

  Language, Limitations to the use of, in study of anthropology 78, 81

  List of illustrations, Burial customs 87

  Man, Origin of, in connection with the study of anthropology 77, 78

  Mythology, Limitations to the use of, in study of anthropology 81, 82

  Origin of man, in connection with the study of anthropology 77, 78

  Picture writing, Limitations to the use of, in study of anthropology 75

  Psychology, Limitations to the use of, in the study of anthropology 83, 86

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