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Title: Ethnology of the Ungava District, Hudson Bay Territory - Eleventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the - Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1889-1890, - Government Printing Office, Washington, 1894, pages 159-350
Author: Turner, Lucien
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ethnology of the Ungava District, Hudson Bay Territory - Eleventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the - Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1889-1890, - Government Printing Office, Washington, 1894, pages 159-350" ***

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[Transcriber’s Note:

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along with some details of vocabulary.

At the time this article was written, the Ungava district was part of
the Northwest Territories. It was transferred to Quebec in 1912. As of
spring 2012, Ungava corresponds loosely to the Nunavik administrative
division; maps may show either name.]

       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *

  Smithsonian Institution--Bureau Of Ethnology.


                     of the


              By LUCIEN M. TURNER.

           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *



  Introduction                                                   167
    Fort Chimo and the surrounding region                        167
    Climate                                                      172
    Auroras                                                      173
    Vegetation                                                   173
    Animal life                                                  174
      Mammals                                                    174
      Birds                                                      175

  The native inhabitants of the country--general sketch          175
    The Eskimo                                                   175
    The Indians                                                  181

  Special account of the people around Fort Chimo                184
    The Koksoagmyut                                              184
      Physical characteristics                                   184
      Diseases                                                   187
      Marriage                                                   188
      Children                                                   190
      Burial customs                                             191
      Religion                                                   193
      Outdoor life                                               202
      Tattooing                                                  207
      Clothing                                                   208
      Dwellings                                                  223
      Household articles                                         228
      Food and its preparation                                   232
      Tobacco and snuff                                          234
      Means of transportation                                    235
        By water                                                 235
        On land                                                  240
      Weapons and other hunting implements                       246
      Hunting                                                    249
      Miscellaneous implements                                   252
      Amusements                                                 254
      Art                                                        259
      Story-telling and folklore                                 260
        Origin of the Innuit                                     261
        The coming of the white people                           261
        Origin of living things on the earth and in the water    261
        Origin of the guillemots                                 262
        Origin of the raven                                      262
        Origin of the quadrangular spots on the loon’s back      262
        Origin of the gulls                                      263
        Origin of the hawks                                      263
        Origin of the swallow                                    263
        The hare                                                 263
        The wolf                                                 263
        Lice                                                     263
        Origin of mosquitoes                                     264
        Story of the man and his fox wife                        264
        The rivals                                               264
        The jealous man                                          264
        Story of the orphan boy                                  265
        The origin of the sun, moon, and stars                   266
        Auroras                                                  266
        The sky                                                  266
        The winds                                                267
    The Nenenot or “Naskopie”                                    267
      Principal characteristics                                  267
      Clothing                                                   281
      Preparation of the skins for clothing                      292
      Dwellings                                                  298
      Sweat houses                                               300
      Household utensils, etc.                                   300
      Tobacco and pipes                                          302
      Means of transportation                                    304
        By water                                                 304
        By land                                                  308
      Weapons                                                    312
      Hunting                                                    316
      Miscellaneous implements, tools, etc.                      317
      Amusements                                                 320
      Festivals                                                  322
      Folklore                                                   327
        Story of the wolverine and the brant                     327
        Story of the wolverine                                   327
        The deer and the squirrel                                328
        The young man who went to live with the deer             328
        The wolf’s daughter going to seek her lover              330
        The devil punishing a liar                               333
        A wolverine destroys his sister                          333
        The rabbit and the frog                                  334
        The wolverine and the rock                               336
        Creation of people by the wolverine and the muskrat      338
        Origin of the whitish spot on the throat of the marten   338
        The Indian and his beaver wife                           339
        The venturesome hare                                     340
        The spirit guiding a child left by its parents           342
        Fate of two Indian men                                   343
        The starving wolverine                                   345
        The starving Indians                                     349



PLATE XXXVI. View on Koksoak River                               170
     XXXVII. Eskimo tent                                         226
    XXXVIII. Stone tobacco pipes                                 302
      XXXIX. Birchbark canoe, Nenenot, Koksoak river pattern     304
         XL. Nenenot snowshoe--“swallow-tail”                    308
        XLI. Nenenot snowshoe--“beaver-tail”                     310
       XLII. Nenenot snowshoe--“round-end”                       312
      XLIII. Doll, Indian woman, full dress, Nenenot             326

FIG. 21. Eskimo grave.                                           192
     22. Magic doll                                              197
     23. Belt of magic doll                                      198
     24. Talisman attached to magic doll                         199
     25. Talisman                                                199
     26. Talisman                                                199
     27. Talisman                                                200
     28. Eskimo woman’s amulet                                   201
     29. Eskimo birdskin cap                                     209
     30. Eskimo man’s deerskin coat (front)                      210
     31. Eskimo man’s deerskin coat (back)                       211
     32. Eskimo man’s sealskin coat (front)                      212
     33. Eskimo man’s sealskin coat (side)                       213
     34. Eskimo woman’s deerskin coat                            214
     35. Eskimo woman’s deerskin coat                            215
     36. Eskimo woman’s deerskin coat                            215
     37. Eskimo woman’s deerskin coat                            216
     38. Eskimo woman’s sealskin coat                            216
     39. Eskimo woman’s deerskin coat                            217
     40. Back view of same                                       217
     41. Eskimo boots                                            218
     42. Eskimo shoes                                            219
     43. Ice shoes, Hudson strait Eskimo                         219
     44. Long waterproof sealskin mitten                         220
     45. Waterproof gut frock                                    221
     46. Snow goggles--front                                     222
     47. Snow goggles--rear                                      223
     48. Deserted Eskimo snowhouses near Fort Chimo              224
     49. Soapstone lamp, Koksoagmyut                             229
     50. Soapstone lamp, Koksoagmyut                             229
     51. Soapstone lamp, Koksoagmyut                             229
     52. Frame for drying mittens                                230
     53. Soapstone kettle                                        230
     54. Soapstone kettle                                        231
     55. Wooden dish                                             231
     56. Sealskin bucket                                         232
     57. Sealskin cup                                            232
     58. Tobacco pouch                                           234
     59. Eskimo Umiak                                            235
     60. Dog whip                                                244
     61. Bow, East Main Eskimo (back)                            246
     62. Bow, East Main Eskimo (side)                            246
     63. Arrow, East Main Eskimo                                 247
     64. Arrow, East Main Eskimo                                 247
     65. Arrow, East Main Eskimo                                 247
     66. Bow case, East Main Eskimo                              248
     67. Hand spear for killing seals, from kaiak, Koksoak       249
     68. Toggle head for hand spear                              250
     69. Sealskin float                                          250
     70. Ivory snow knife, Koksoagmyut                           253
     71. Back-scratcher, Koksoagmyut                             253
     72. Ivory needle case, Koksoagmyut                          254
     73. Ivory needle case, Koksoagmyut                          254
     74. Sealskin needle cushion, with thimble, Koksoagmyut      254
     75. “Cup and ball,” Koksoagmyut                             256
     76. Football and driver, Koksoagmyut                        256
     77. Dominoes, Hudson strait Eskimo                          257
     78. Eskimo doll, man                                        258
     79. Eskimo doll, woman                                      258
     80. Eskimo doll, woman                                      259
     81. Eskimo doll, woman                                      259
     82. Eskimo violin                                           259
     83. Birds carved in ivory                                   260
     84. Human figure carved in ivory                            260
     85. Indian medicine lodge                                   274
     86. Indian amulet of bearskin                               275
     87. Indian buckskin coat, man’s (front)                     281
     88. Indian buckskin coat, man’s (back)                      282
     89. Detail of pattern painted on Indian garment             282
     90. Detail of pattern painted on deerskin robe              283
     91. Indian buckskin leggings                                283
     92. Indian moccasins                                        284
     93. Indian mittens                                          285
     94. Beaded headband, Nenenot                                286
     95. Man’s winter coat (front)                               287
     96. Man’s winter coat (back)                                288
     97. Detail of ornamentation                                 288
     98. Man’s winter coat, with hood                            289
     99. Man’s winter coat, with hood                            290
    100. Nenenot woman in full winter dress                      291
    101. Sealskin headband, Nenenot                              292
    102. Skin scraper (front), Nenenot                           292
    103. Skin scraper (side), Nenenot                            292
    104. Skin-cleaning tool, Nenenot                             293
    105. Skin-cleaning tool (iron-bladed), Nenenot               294
    106. Paint stick, Nenenot                                    296
    107.                                                         296
    108. Paint stick, Nenenot                                    296
    109. Paint stick, Nenenot                                    297
    110. Paint stick, Nenenot                                    297
    111. Paint cup, Nenenot                                      297
    112. Paint cup, Nenenot                                      297
    113. Paint cup, Nenenot                                      298
    114. Nenenot Indian tent                                     298
    115. Wooden bucket, Nenenot                                  301
    116. Birchbark basket, Nenenot                               301
    117. Birchbark basket, Nenenot                               301
    118. Stone pestle, Nenenot                                   302
    119. Wooden spoon or ladle, Nenenot                          302
    120. Wooden spoon or ladle, Nenenot                          302
    121. Wooden spoon or ladle, Nenenot                          303
    122. Wooden spoon or ladle, Nenenot                          303
    123. Stone tobacco pipe                                      304
    124. Pipe cleaner, Nenenot                                   304
    125. Spoon for applying grease to canoe                      306
    126. Toboggan, Nenenot, side view                            307
    127. Toboggan, Nenenot, from above                           307
    128. Nenenot snowshoe, single bar                            308
    129. Nenenot snowshoe, single bar                            309
    130. Snowshoe needle, Nenenot                                310
    131. Wooden snowshoe, Little Whale river                     311
    132. Bow, Nenenot                                            312
    133. Arrow, Nenenot                                          313
    134. Arrow, Nenenot                                          313
    135. Arrow, Nenenot                                          313
    136. Arrow, Nenenot                                          313
    137. Deer lance, Nenenot                                     314
    138. White whale spear, Little Whale river                   314
    139. Point of white whale spear enlarged                     314
    140. Reindeer snare, Nenenot                                 315
    141. Crooked knife, Nenenot                                  317
    142. Awl, Nenenot                                            318
    143. Snow shovel, Nenenot                                    318
    144. Ice scoop, Nenenot                                      318
    145.                                                         319
    146. Comb, with birchbark case and cleaner                   320
    147. Boards for woman’s hair                                 320
    148. Swimming board                                          321
    149. Fishhook and line                                       321
    150. Cup and ball, Nenenot                                   324
    151. Drum, Nenenot                                           324
    152. Drum, Little Whale river                                325
    153. Rattle, Nenenot                                         326
    154. Target, reindeer, buck                                  326
    155. Target, reindeer, doe                                   326


By Lucien M. Turner.

(Edited by John Murdoch.)


Ungava bay is on the northern coast of old Labrador--the last great
bight of the strait between the ocean and the mouth of Hudson bay. Its
chief affluent is Koksoak or South river, which is several hundred miles
long and takes its rise in a picturesque festoonery of lakes looped
through the highlands half way down to Quebec.


Fort Chimo is in longitude 68° 16´ west of Greenwich and latitude 58° 8´
north. The post is on the right bank of the Koksoak river, about 27
miles from its mouth. The elevation of the level tract on which the
houses are situated is but a few feet above high-water mark. The
location was selected on account of its comparative dryness, and also
because the river affords a safer anchorage in that vicinity than lower

The early Moravian missionaries, long before established on the Atlantic
coast, desired to extend their labors for the conversion of the Eskimo
to their teachings. About the year 1825 a vessel ascended the Koksoak
river for the purpose of selecting a new missionary station. Nearly
opposite Fort Chimo is a beacon, yet standing, erected by the people of
that vessel. Their reception among the natives was such that they gave a
glowing account of it on their return. The Hudson Bay Company
immediately took steps to erect a trading post upon the river, and a
small party was sent in the year 1831 from Moose Factory to establish a
trading post where the trade would appear to promise future development.
The men remained there, obtaining a precarious subsistence, as the
vessel delivering them supplies visited that place only once in two
years. Their houses were simple, consisting of a single structure for
the official in charge, another for the servants, and two more for the
storage of goods. A palisade was erected around the houses to prevent
the intrusion of the natives, Indians and Eskimo, who were so lately at
war with each other that the rancorous feeling had not subsided and
might break out afresh at any moment without warning. The remnants of
the palisade were yet visible in 1882. The establishment of this trading
post had a pacifying influence upon the natives, who soon found they
could do better by procuring the many valuable fur-bearing animals than
by engaging in a bloody strife, which the traders always deprecate and
endeavor to prevent or suppress. After many trials to establish an
overland communication with the stations on Hamilton inlet, it was found
to be impracticable, and in 1843 the station was abandoned.

John M’Lean, in a work entitled “Twenty-five Years in the Hudson’s Bay
Territory,”[1] gives an account of that portion of the country that came
under his knowledge from the year 1838 to 1843.

    [Footnote 1: Two vols. in one. London, 1849.]

In the year 1866 the steamer _Labrador_ was built and sent with a party
to reestablish the post at Fort Chimo. Since 1866 the post has been a
paying station, and in later years a good profit has been made.

Fort Chimo is the chief trading station of the Ungava district. The
Ungava district proper is the area embraced by the watershed whose
outflow drains into Ungava bay. The eastern boundary is formed by the
foothills on the west side of the coast range, which is the western
limit of Labrador. This range has a trend northwest and southeast to
latitude 60°, where it makes a somewhat abrupt angle and pursues a
nearly north course, terminating with Cape Chidley and the Buttons,
the latter a low group of islets some 7 miles north of the cape. The
southern boundary is the “Height of Land,” near latitude 55°. This
region is estimated to be from 1,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level. The
greater portion of it is comparatively level, and on its surface are
innumerable lakes of various sizes, some of which are quite large.
The western boundary is not so well known in the southern part of the
region, as it has been seldom traversed. It seems to be a high elevation
extending toward the north-northwest, as numerous streams run from the
southwest and west toward the central or Koksoak valley. Eskimo who have
traversed the region many times report that the elevated land abruptly
ends near 58° 30´, and that there is formed a wide swampy tract,
estimated to be about 80 miles wide, which opens to the northeast and
southwest. The northwestern portion of the district is a great area
abounding in abrupt hills and precipitous mountains of various heights.
These heights, estimated to range no higher than 2,600 feet, terminate
abruptly on the western end of the strait, and the numerous islands in
that portion of the water are, doubtless, peaks of this same range
continuing to the northwest.

It will be thus seen that the district of Ungava is a huge amphitheater
opening to the north. The interior of the district is excessively varied
by ridges and spurs of greater or less elevation. The farther south one
travels, the higher and more irregularly disposed are the hills and
mountains. These spurs are usually parallel to the main ranges, although
isolated spurs occur which extend at right angles to the main range. The
tops of the higher elevations are covered with snow for the entire year.
The summits of the lower ones are shrouded with snow as early as the 1st
of September, and by the 1st of October the snow line descends nearly to
their bases. The lower lands are full of swampy tracts, lakes, and

The more elevated regions are totally destitute of vegetation, except
the tripe des roches, which gives to the hills a somber color, anything
but inspiring. Fully three-fourths of the more elevated region is, with
the exception of black lichens, barren rock. Everywhere is the evidence
of long continued glacial action. The southern exposures of all the
hills show the same character of wearing, and, in many instances, a fine
polish on the rocks forming their bases. This smoothness extends nearly
to the summits of the higher peaks. These again are somewhat rougher and
often broken into jagged, angular fragments, frequently of immense size.
The more moderate elevations are usually rounded summits on whose higher
portions may be found huge bowlders of rock having a different character
from that upon which they rest, proving that they were carried there by
masses of ice in the glacial ages. The northern extremity of all the
ridges and spurs indicate that the glacial sheet moved to the
north-northwest, for these portions of the rocks are so jagged and sharp
edged as to appear to have been broken but yesterday.

The rivers of this district are numerous and several are of great size,
although but two of them are navigable for more than 100 miles, and this
only for boats of light draft.

The river usually known as George’s river (Kan´gûk¢lua´luksoak) is the
largest on the eastern side. This stream takes its rise about latitude
55° and pursues a moderately tortuous course nearly northward and falls
into the eastern side of Ungava Bay. It has a wide bay-like mouth
narrowing rapidly at the mouth proper. Swift rapids are formed here on
account of an island near the center. Beyond this the river expands and
has an average width of half a mile for a distance of about 18 miles
where the river bends eastward and forms rapids for over 2 miles. It is
navigable for the steamer _Labrador_ only about 12 miles. Beyond the
rapids it runs tolerably smooth and deep for nearly 40 miles and thence
to the source is a series of rapids and falls, rendering portages
frequent, and making it utterly impracticable for even a heavy skiff to
ascend beyond 70 miles from the mouth. Indians assert that high falls
occur about 150 miles from the mouth of the George’s river. The water is
said to fall from a terrific height, almost perpendicularly, and it
causes the ground to tremble so that the thundering noise may be heard
for more than a day’s journey from it.

The tide at the mouth of George’s river rises 53 feet, and at the
Anchorage, opposite the newly established station of Fort George, some
12 miles from its mouth, 42 feet.

Whale river is the next important river toward the east. Off the mouth
of this river is a huge island, locally known as Big island. This high
island extends parallel to the course of the river, and a reef,
connecting its upper end with the mainland, becomes dry at low water.
The course of Whale river is not well known. About 40 miles up this
stream it suddenly contracts and becomes a mere creek, forming the
outlet of a large lake, whose position is not satisfactorily determined.
It is to the banks of this lake that certain families of the Indians
repair for summer fishing.

The next large river is the Koksoak. This stream is the largest in the
district. It takes its rise from lakes situated on the plateau--the
“Height of Land,”--and pursues a course having a general direction
north-northeast. On emerging from the lake it is rather small, but forks
and unites again about 40 miles below. The current is sluggish at the
upper end, and the eastern branch is so narrow that the Indians have to
part the overhanging alders and willows to afford their canoes a
passage. This branch is said to be the shorter way to the lake and is
not so difficult to ascend, the eastern branch being shallow and
containing a number of rapids.

Below the junction of the branches the river rapidly becomes larger and
contains several very high falls, below which the river flows northwest
for a couple of hundred yards and then curves to the north-northeast for
a distance of 5 miles. This portion is only about 700 feet wide. It then
turns abruptly westward and rushes swiftly through a narrow gorge only
200 feet wide for a distance of about 7 miles. This course is noted for
several rapids, through which a boat can not make its way without great
difficulty. At the end of this 7-mile run the river again bends abruptly
to the east, and continues that course with little northing until the
last bend, some 65 miles below, is reached. At the lower end of the
7-mile run the ledges and reefs are too numerous to count. From this
place to the mouth of the Larch river the Koksoak is obstructed by
islands, bars, and shoals. Below these, however, it becomes quite broad,
until nearly opposite the high point or promontory below the mouth of
the Larch (Pl. XXXVI). From this locality it is monotonous till the last
bend is reached, some 4 miles above Fort Chimo, where it suddenly turns
to the north and pursues that direction to the sea with little
variation. At the last bend, however, a large island, locally known as
Big island, not only obstructs but ends navigation for boats drawing
over 6 feet. Small boats, such as skiffs and native boats, ascend to the
lower end of 7-mile run. The principal obstruction to travel in any kind
of vessel in the Koksoak from Big island to the mouth of the Larch river
is the presence of two falls or rapids about 40 miles from Fort Chimo.



The extreme rise and fall of the tide at the mouth of the river is 62
feet 3 inches. The usual rise and fall is from 8 to 12 feet less,
depending on the stage of the river. At Fort Chimo the tide rises as
much as 31 feet. The backwater is held in check as far as the upper
rapids in a common stage of water, and during a high rise in the month
of June the water is “backed” some 3 miles beyond the upper rapids.

The branches of the Koksoak river are few and unimportant. The larger
tributary is the Larch river. It is a rapid and almost unnavigable
stream of variable depth, mostly shallow, and 100 to nearly 400 yards

At about 40 miles from its mouth the Larch forks, the lower or southwest
fork draining the eastern sides of the same mountains whose western
slopes are drained by the Little Whale river. This southwest fork of the
Larch river is quite small and scarcely capable of being ascended,
although it may, with great caution, be descended. This is the course
followed by the Little Whale river Indians when they traverse the
country to join the Naskopies of the Koksoak valley. The northwest
branch of the Larch is still smaller and is reported to issue from the
swampy tract of land in about latitude 58° 30´.

The next large river is the Leaf. Its mouth is about 34 miles northwest
of Fort Chimo, and it flows into a peculiarly shaped bay named
Tass´iyak, or “like a lake.” The length of the river proper is estimated
to be but 40 miles, flowing from a very long and narrow lake, having its
longer axis extending southwestward and draining the greater part of the
swampy tract lying in latitude 58° 30´. The southwestern portion of this
tract is merely an area covered with innumerable small lakes so
intimately connected by short water courses that it is difficult to
determine whether water or land constitutes the greater part of the
area. The rivers to the west are of less importance and drain the rugged
area forming the northwestern portion of the district, or that part
lying under the western third of Hudson strait.

The principal portion of Hudson strait that came under my observation is
Ungava bay. This bay is a pocket-shaped body of water lying south of the
strait and toward its eastern end. Soundings in various portions of this
bay indicate a depth of 28 to 70 fathoms for the central area. The
bottom appears to be uniformly the washings from the freshwater streams.
The extreme tides of Hudson strait tend to produce the most violent
currents in this bay. Opposite the entrance of Leaf river bay is a
whirlpool of considerable size, which causes much trouble to navigation.
It is safe enough at high water but very dangerous at half-tide.

The large island known as Akpatok lies in such a position as to break
much of the current along the south side of the middle of the strait,
but to give additional force to the currents at either end. This island
is about 100 miles long and has an average width of 18 miles. It is the
largest island in the strait proper.

The coast line of the northwest portion of the mainland is imperfectly
known, as is the western coast forming the eastern shore of Hudson bay.
Navigation in any portion of Hudson strait is attended with much danger,
not alone from the tremendous energy of the tides but also from the
quantity of ice to be found at all times. During the months of August
and September the strait is comparatively free from large fields of ice,
but after that date the harbors, coves, and other anchorages are apt to
be frozen up in a single night.


The temperature is controlled by the direction of the wind. The warmest
winds are southeast, south, and southwest during the summer. The
northeast winds bring (if backing) fog, rain, or snow; the north wind is
usually cold and disposed to disperse the clouds. The northwest wind is
always very cold in winter and chilly in summer. Westerly winds are
moderate in winter and summer. The southerly winds are warm at all
seasons if blowing hard, but very cold if blowing lightly in winter.
I think the coldest light winds of the winter are from a point little
west of south. They are doubtless due to the cold from the elevated
region--the Height of Land.

The greatest amount of cloudiness occurs in the spring and fall; rather
less in July and August, and least during December, January, and
February. The average cloudiness for the entire year is not less than
eighty-two hundredths of the visible sky.

Sleet falls mostly from the middle of September to the beginning of
December. Snow then succeeds it and continues to be the only form of
precipitation until the middle of April, when sleet and snow fall until
the first rain sets in. The season of rain is very erratic. It may rain
by the first of May, but rarely does. Snow falls every month in the
year; the 2d of July and the 6th of August were the dates farthest apart
for this form of precipitation. The character of the rain is usually
moderate to hard for the summer showers; although several notable
exceptions of abundant dashes occur during late June and all of July.
The August and September rains are usually light to moderate, but often
persistent for several days. The snowfalls are light to heavy in
character, rarely, however, lasting more than twenty-four hours. The
sleet is usually precipitated in severe squalls. The lower grounds are
permanently covered with snow by the 1st of December, this covering
remaining until the 10th of June. At the latter date only the heavier
drifts and the snow of the ravines remain. It entirely disappears by the
last of July at all elevations no higher than that of Fort Chimo.

The higher hills retain snow until the last of August, but none is to be
seen in the vicinity of Fort Chimo after that date. By the middle of
September snow again covers the tops of the distant high hills.

Fogs rarely occur so far inland as Fort Chimo. Those occurring are in
July and August. At times they are very dense; and, as they form during
the earliest hours of the day, they are usually dissipated by 4 to 7
a. m. While the ice is setting in the river, and driven back and forth
by the tides, huge volumes of steam arise from the inky water and are
spread over the land by the light winds prevailing at that season. This
moisture deposited on the bushes and trees forms a most beautiful sight.


Auroras may be seen on most of the clear nights of the year. The month
of June is, on account of its light nights, the only month in which an
aurora is not observable.


The northern limit of trees on the Labrador coast is in latitude 57°.
Here the conifers are stunted and straggling. Beyond the coast range
they attain a slightly higher altitude and thence continue to a point
about thirty miles north of the mouth of George’s river. On the western
side of the mouth of this river the trees are pushed back 15 to 20 miles
from the sea. At the mouth of Whale river, the trees attain a height of
30 to 50 feet on the eastern (right) bank and within 2 miles of the
shore. On the left bank the trees do not approach to within 10 to 15
miles of the coast. At the mouth of False river they form a triangular
extension and attain considerable size, due in great measure to the
peculiar formation of a huge amphitheater whose north wall serves as an
admirable protection against the cold winds from the bay. On the western
side of False river the tree line extends in a southwesterly direction
across the Koksoak and to the banks of the Leaf river nearly at its
source from the large lake. From the south side of this lake the trees
are very much scattered and attain inconsiderable size, scarcely fitted
for other uses than fuel.

A line from this lake southwest to the eastern shore of Hudson bay forms
the northern limit of trees for the northwest portion of the region. The
people (Eskimo only) who dwell north of this line are dependent upon the
stunted willows and alders, growing in the deeper ravines and valleys
having a southern exposure. Large pieces of wood are much sought for by
the Eskimo of the northwest portion, for use in constructing their
kaiaks, umiaks and paddles, as well as spear shafts and smaller
requirements for which the distorted stems of willow and alder will not

South of the line given as the northern limit of trees the growth slowly
attains greater size and extension of area. The timber north of the
Height of Land is comparatively small, the spruce and larch rarely
attaining a size greater than 12 to 15 inches at the ground and rapidly
tapering up for 2 feet or so above the surface. Above the height of 2
feet the stems slowly taper and, in a few instances, produce symmetrical
stems for more than 15 feet. The trees growing within 40 miles of Fort
Chimo seldom exceed 10 inches in diameter, and of the larger trunks the
logs are selected to form the material from which the walls of all the
buildings at that place are constructed.

The alders, willows, and a few other bushes attain a greater or less
size, depending upon the situation and amount of protection afforded.
I have seen as large stems of these shrubs growing within a mile of Fort
Chimo as I have seen at either Davis inlet or Rigolet.

The flowering plants are sparsely scattered over the northern areas, and
then only in most suitable soils. The ground remains frozen from the
last of October--earlier some seasons--to the last of May, or even into
the middle of June. The appearance of the annuals is sudden, and they
rapidly attain their full size and quickly fall before the chilling
winds of autumn.



The marine mammals alone appear to be well known, but the number of
cetaceans can certainly be increased above the number usually reported
inhabiting the waters immediately bordering upon the region.

The phocids are best known for the reason that off the shores of
southeast Labrador the pursuit of species of this family is carried on
each spring to an extent probably surpassing that anywhere else on the
face of the globe.

At the mouth of Little Whale river, the white whale is taken to the
number of 500 each year, although the capture is steadily decreasing.
The Indians here do the greater part of the labor of driving, killing,
flaying, and preserving them. At Fort Chimo another station for the
pursuit of white whales is carried on. Here the Eskimo do the driving
and killing, while the Indians perform the labor of removing the blubber
and rendering it fit for the oil tanks into which it is placed to put it
beyond the action of the weather. The skin of the white whale is tanned
and converted into a leather of remarkably good quality, especially
noted for being nearly waterproof.

Of the land mammals, the reindeer is probably the most abundant of all.
It is found in immense numbers in certain localities, and forms for many
of the inhabitants the principal source of subsistence, while to nearly
all the residents its skins are absolutely necessary to protect them
from the severity of the winter.

The black, white and brown bears are common enough in their respective
areas. The former rarely ranges beyond the woodlands, never being found
so far north as Fort Chimo. The white bear is common in the northern
portions bordering the sea and is occasionally found as far south as the
strait of Belleisle, to which it has been carried on icebergs or fields
of ice. Akpatok island and the vicinity of Cape Chidley are reported to
be localities infested with these brutes. The brown or barren-ground
bear appears to be restricted to a narrow area and is not plentiful,
yet is common enough to keep the Indian in wholsome dread of its vicious
disposition when enraged.

The smaller mammals occur in greater or less abundance according to the
quality and quantity of food to be obtained. The wolves, foxes, and
wolverines are pretty evenly distributed throughout the region. The
hares are found in the wooded tracts for the smaller species and on the
barren regions for the larger species.


The actual residents were ascertained to be less than twenty species for
the northern portion of the Ungava district.

Of the actual residents the two species of the genus _Lagopus_ are the
most abundant of all birds in the region, and form an important article
of food for all classes of people inhabiting the district. The winter
exerts an important influence on the smaller resident species. During
the winter of 1882-’83 the number of the four species obtained of the
genus _Acanthis_ was almost incredible. Their notes might be heard at
any time during that season, which was cold, though regularly so, and
not specially stormy. In the winter of 1883-’84 not a single individual
was observed from the middle of November to the last of March. The
same remarks may well apply to the white-winged crossbill (_Loxia
leucoptera_), which was very abundant the first winter, but during
the last winter a very small flock only was observed and these were
apparently vagrants.

Among the water birds, certain species which were expected to occur were
conspicuously absent. The character of the country forbids them rearing
their young, as there is little to feed upon; and only a few breed in
the immediate vicinity of Fort Chimo. Among the gulls, _Larus argentatus
smithsonianus_ is certainly the only one breeding in abundance within
Ungava bay. Of the terns, the Arctic tern (_Sterna paradiseæ_) was the
only one ascertained to breed in Hudson strait. I am not certain that
they do breed there every year. Although I saw them in early July, 1883,
under conditions that led me to believe that they were on their way to
their nests, yet it was not until 1884 that a number of eggs were
secured near that locality.

Of the smaller waders, but two species were actually ascertained to
breed in the vicinity of Fort Chimo, yet two or three other species were
observed under such circumstances as to leave no doubt that they also
breed there.



The northern portions of the coast of the region under consideration are
inhabited by the Eskimo, who designate themselves, as usual, by the term
“Innuit,” people (plural of innuk, “a person”). That they have been much
modified by contact with the whites is not to be doubted, and it is
equally certain that their language is constantly undergoing
modifications to suit the purposes of the missionary and trader, who,
not being able to pronounce the difficult guttural speech of these
people, require them to conform to their own pronunciation. The region
inhabited by the Innuit is strictly littoral. Their distribution falls
properly into three subdivisions, due to the three subtribal
distinctions which they maintain among themselves. The first subdivision
embraces all the Innuit dwelling on the Labrador coast proper and along
the south side of Hudson strait to the mouth of Leaf river, which flows
into Ungava bay.

These people apply the term Sû hi´ nĭ myut to themselves and are thus
known by the other subdivisions. This term is derived from Sû hi´ nûk,
the sun, and the latter part of the word, meaning people (literally
“those that dwell at or in”); hence, people of the sun, sunny side,
because the sun shines on them first. At the present time these people
are confined to the seashore and the adjacent islands, to which they
repair for seals and other food. South of Hamilton inlet I could learn
of but one of these people.

The Innuit of pure blood do not begin to appear until the missionary
station of Hopedale is reached. Here a number of families dwell,
although mostly at the instigation of the missionaries. Between this
station and Hebron are several other Moravian missionary stations, at
each of which dwell a greater or less number of pure Innuit. North of
Hebron to Cape Chidley there are but few families, some seven in all,
embracing a population of less than 40 souls. On the west side of Cape
Chidley, as far as the mouth of George’s river, only about eight
families live. These with the George’s river Innuit comprise less than
50 individuals. There is a stretch of coast bordering Ungava bay, from
George’s river to the Koksoak river, which is uninhabited.

The Koksoak river people include only four or five families and number
less than 30 souls. The next people are those dwelling at the mouth of
Leaf river, but they are more properly to be considered under the next

The exact number of the Sûhĭnĭmyut could not be definitely determined.
They are subdivided into a number of small communities, each bearing a
name compounded of the name of their home and myut, “the people of.”

The inhabitants of Cape Chidley are known as Ki lĭn´ĭg myut, from the
word ki lĭn´ĭk, wounded, cut, incised, lacerated; hence, serrated, on
account of the character of the rough rocks and mountains.

The natives of George’s river are known as Kan´gûk¢lua´luksoagmyut;
those of the Koksoak river are known as Koksoagmyut.

The second subdivision includes the Innuit dwelling on the area lying
between the mouth of Leaf river, thence northward, and along the south
side of Hudson strait. Their western and southern limit extends to about
latitude 60°.

These Innuit are known by the other subdivisions as Ta hág myut. They
apply the same term to themselves. The word is derived from Tá hak,
a shadow; hence people of the shade or shadow as distinguished from the
Sû hĭ´ nĭ myut, or people of the light or sunshine. These people are but
little influenced by contact with the white traders, who apply to them
the term “Northerners.” Their habits and customs are primitive, and many
appear to be entirely distinct from the customs of their neighbors south
and east. The character of the region in which they dwell is very
rugged. Huge mountain spurs and short ranges ramify in every direction,
forming deep valleys and ravines, along which these people must travel
to reach the trading station of Fort Chimo of the Ungava district, or
else to Fort George of the Moose district.

The distance to the former is so great that only three, four, or five
sledges are annually sent to the trading post for the purpose of
conveying the furs and other more valuable commodities to be bartered
for ammunition, guns, knives, files and other kinds of hardware, and
tobacco. Certain persons are selected from the various camps who have
personally made the trip and know the trail. These are commissioned to
barter the furs of each individual for special articles, which are
mentioned and impressed upon the mind of the man who is to effect the
trade. The principal furs are those of the various foxes. Among them are
to be found the best class of silver foxes, and wolverenes and wolves.
Those to be sent are procured the previous winter, and when the snow
falls in November or early December the line of sleds starts out for the
trading post. The sled which represents the wants of the more western of
these Innuit speeds to where the second may be, and they repair to the
place of meeting with the third, and thus by traversing the line of
coast the arctic caravan is made up. Provisions are supplied by the
wayside, and when all is in readiness a southern course is traveled
until the frozen morasses on the south of the hills are reached. Thence
the course is toward Leaf river and across to Fort Chimo. By the last
week of April or the first week of May the visitors are expected at the
trading post. They usually bring with them about two-fifths of all the
furs obtained in the district; indeed, the quantity often exceeds this
amount. They seldom remain longer than the time needed to complete their
bartering, as the rapidly melting snow warns them that each day of delay
adds to their labor in returning.

The homeward journey is more frequently made along the coast, as there
the snow is certain to remain longer upon the ground. It is not
infrequent that these travelers experience warm weather, which detains
them so long that they do not reach the end of their journey until the
middle of the summer or even until the beginning of the next winter.
Many of the Innuit who accompany these parties have never seen white men
until they arrive at Fort Chimo; women are often of the party. These
people are usually tall and of fine physique. The men are larger than
the average white man, while the women compare favorably in stature with
the women of medium height in other countries.

They have quite different customs from those of their present neighbors.
Their language is dialectically distinct; about as much so as the
Malimyut differ from the Kaviagmyut of Norton Sound, Alaska. The
Tahagmyut have a rather harsh tone; their gutturals are deeper and the
vowels usually rather more prolonged. They are much given to amusement
and still retain many of the old games, which the Sûhĭ´nĭmyut have
forgotten or no longer engage in. Their dead are treated with no
ceremony. They simply lash the limbs of the deceased to the body and
expose the corpse to the elements, removing it, however, from immediate
sight of the camp. Old and infirm people are treated with severity, and
when dependent upon others for their food they are summarily disposed of
by strangulation or left to perish when the camp is moved.

Women are held in little respect, although the men are very jealous of
the favors of their wives, and incontinence on the part of the latter is
certain to be more or less severely punished. The male offender, if
notoriously persistent in his efforts to obtain forbidden favors, is
usually killed by the injured lover or husband.

Gambling is carried on to such a degree among both sexes that even their
own lives are staked upon the issue of a game. The winner often obtains
the wife of his opponent, and holds her until some tempting offer is
made for her return. The only article they possess is frequently
wagered, and when they lose they are greeted with derision. The women,
especially, stake their only garment rather than be without opportunity
to play. The usual game is played with a number of flattened pieces of
walrus ivory. On one side are a number of dots forming various crude
designs, which have received names from their fancied resemblance to
other objects. These must be matched. The game somewhat resembles
dominoes, and whether it is original with these Innuit I was unable to
conclude. They stoutly maintain that it originated with themselves.
I suspect, however, it had its origin in the imitation of some one who
had observed the playing of dominoes on board of some of the whaling
vessels visiting these waters.

For other amusements these Innuit indulge in a number of tests of
personal strength, such as wrestling and leaping.

Feasts are held at stated times in huge structures built of snow blocks.
The exact signification of these feasts was not learned, owing to the
limited stay these people made each year at Fort Chimo. Their dress
consists of the skins of seals and reindeer. The sealskins are worn
during rainy weather and by those who are in the canoe or kaiak. The
skirts of their garments are ornamented with an edging of ivory pieces
cut into a pear-shape, having a small hole pierced through the smaller

These pieces of ivory, often to the number of many scores, give a
peculiar rattle as the wearer walks along. Their boots are noticeably
different from those made by the Koksoak river people, inasmuch as the
soles are often made with strips of sealskin thongs sewed on a false
sole, which is attached to the under surface of the sole proper. The
strips of thong are tacked on by a stout stitch, then a short loop is
taken up, and another stitch sews a portion of the remainder of the
strip. This is continued until the entire under surface consists of a
series of short loops, which, when in contact with the smooth ice,
prevents the foot from slipping. This sort of footgear is not made in
any other portion of the district.

The third subdivision comprises the Innuit dwelling on the eastern shore
of Hudson bay, between latitudes 53° and 58°.

The number of these Innuit could not be definitely ascertained, as they
trade, for the most part, at Fort George, belonging to the Moose
district. Each year, however, a party of less than a dozen individuals
journey to Fort Chimo for the purpose of bartering furs and other
valuables. Those who come to Fort Chimo are usually the same each year.
In language they differ greatly from the Koksoak Innuit, inasmuch as
their speech is very rapid and much harsher. Many of the words are quite
dissimilar, and even where the word has the same sound it is not unusual
that it has a meaning more or less different from that used by the
Koksoak Innuit. As these people have been long under the advice and
teachings of the missionary society of London, it is to be expected that
they, especially those nearer the trading station, are more or less
influenced by its teachings. Their customs differ somewhat from the
other Innuit, though this is due in a great measure to the impossibility
of procuring the necessary food, and skins for garments, unless they are
constantly scouring the plains and hills for reindeer or the shore for
seals and other marine creatures.

These people are called by their neighbors and themselves I´tivi´ myut,
Iti´vûk signifies the other, farther, distant side (of a portion of
land); hence, the word Itivimyut means people of the other side. The
northern Itivimyut are probably the most superstitious of all the Innuit
dwelling in the region under consideration.

Although the missionaries have devoted considerable energy to the work
of converting these people, and though many of them profess
Christianity, these professions prove on examination to be merely
nominal. As soon as the converts are beyond the teacher’s influence,
they return to the shaman for guidance.

In the spring of 1883 a party of these people visited Fort Chimo.
A great number of the Koksoak people were ill, some 30 miles above the
station. The visitors had among them a shaman renowned throughout the
land. He, with the connivance of two or three of the people with whom he
stopped, began some of the most astonishing intrigues to dispel the evil
spirit afflicting the people. Several men were parted from their wives,
and these were compelled to dwell with other men who were at the bottom
of the conspiracy. Other couples had to flee from that place to prevent
being divorced, at least temporarily. After a time the visitors
descended to Fort Chimo, and while the bartering was going on the shaman
announced his conversion to Christianity, and vowed never again to
return to practicing shamanism. On the return of the harried fugitives
they passed the camp of the Koksoak river people, where they had a few
days before been the guests, and stole their supplies of reindeer meat
and other valuable property, even attempting to purloin a kaiak; and
they had proceeded many miles thence before they were overtaken and
compelled to relinquish the stolen property. They were seen some months
after by some Tahagmyut, to whom they stated their fear of returning
among the Koksoak people. A more plausible scamp does not dwell in those
regions than this shaman, whose name is Sápa. His power over the spirit
controlling the reindeer is widely believed in and invoked by the other
shamans, who feel incapable of turning the heads of the deer and thus
compelling them to wander in the desired direction.

Among these people only have I heard of a son who took his mother as a
wife, and when the sentiment of the community compelled him to discard
her he took two other women, who were so persecuted by the mother that
they believed themselves to be wholly under her influence. She even
caused them to believe they were ill, and when they actually did become
so they both died.

In former years the Innuit extended entirely around the shore of Hudson
bay. Now there is a very wide gap, extending from the vicinity of Fort
George, on the eastern coast, to the vicinity of Fort Churchill, on the
western coast. At the present time the Innuit occupy the areas
designated in these remarks. That they formerly extended along the
Atlantic coast far to the south of their present limit is attested by an
abundance of facts.

The Innuit of the eastern shore of Hudson bay, the Itivimyut, informed
me that the Innuit dwelling on the islands of Hudson bay, more or less
remote from the mainland to the east, are termed Ki´gĭktag´myut, or
island people. They relate that those islanders have quite different
customs from the mainland people, inasmuch as their clothing consists of
the skins of seals and dogs, rarely of reindeer skins, as the latter are
procurable only when one of their number comes to the shore to trade for
such articles as can not be obtained on his locality. The spear, kaiak,
bow and arrow are used, and they have but little knowledge of firearms.
These people are represented as often being driven to greatest extremity
for food. It is said that their language differs considerably from that
of their neighbors.

The Innuit, as a rule, are peaceful and mild-tempered, except when
aroused by jealousy. They are, however, quick enough to resent an insult
or avenge an injury. They form a permanent attachment for the white man
who deals honestly and truthfully with them, but if he attempts any
deception or trickery they are certain to be ever suspicious of him,
and it is difficult to regain their favor.

Their courage and ability are not to be doubted, and when they are given
a due amount of encouragement they will perform the most arduous tasks
without complaint.


The Indian inhabitants of this region may be divided into three groups,
differing but slightly in speech, and even less in habits.

(1) The Mountaineers, “Montagnais” of the early Jesuit missionaries,
roam over the areas south of the Hamilton inlet and as far as the Gulf
of St. Lawrence. Their western limits are imperfectly known. They trade
at all the stations along the accessible coast. Many of them barter at
Rigolet and Northwest river.

In customs they differ little from the Indians to the north of them.
Their means of subsistence are the flesh of reindeer, porcupines, and
various birds, such as geese, ducks, ptarmigan, and grouse.

The habits of the reindeer in this portion of the country are very
erratic. They are often absent from large tracts for several years,
and appearing in abundance when little expected. The scarcity of the
reindeer renders the food supply quite precarious; hence, the Indians
rely much upon the flesh of the porcupine, hare and birds for their
principal food.

Their clothing is of the tanned skin of the deer when they are able to
procure it. As nearly all the skins of the reindeer are used for
garments, few are prepared for other purposes; hence the northern
stations (Fort Chimo) furnish great numbers of these skins in the
parchment condition to be purchased by the Mountaineers, who cut them
into fine lines for snowshoe netting and other purposes.

They procure the furs of marten, mink, fur beaver, muskrats, lynxes,
wolverines, wolves, and foxes. A considerable number of black bears are
also obtained by these Indians. By the barter of these furs they procure
the articles made necessary by the advent of the white people among
them. They are quiet and peaceable. Many of them profess a regard for
the teachings of the Roman missionaries, who have visited them more or
less frequently for over a hundred and fifty years. I was unable to
obtain the term by which they distinguish themselves from their
neighbors. That they are later comers in the region than the Innuit is
attested by the bloody warfare formerly carried on between them, of
which many proofs yet exist. The Mountaineers applied to the more
northern Indians the term of reproach, “Naskopie.” This word denotes the
contempt the Mountaineers felt for the Naskopies when the latter failed
to fulfill their promise to assist in driving the Innuit from the

It was impossible to obtain a satisfactory estimate of the numbers of
the Mountaineers. My stay in their vicinity was too short to learn as
much about them as was desired.

(2) The Indians dwelling to the southwest of the Ungava district differ
rather more than the Mountaineers, in their speech, from the Indians of
the Ungava district. They average, for both sexes, slightly taller than
the Naskopies. The men are spare, and have small limbs and extremities.
The cheek bones are also more prominent, although this is partly due to
the thin visage. The women are disposed to be stout, and in the older
women there is a decided tendency to corpulence. The complexion, too, is
considerably darker. The men wear long hair, usually cut so as to fall
just upon the shoulders. The hair of the women is quite heavy, and is
worn either in braids or done up in folds upon the side of the head.

In their personal habits they are much more tidy than their eastern
relations. Their dress differs but little from that of their neighbors.
The women dress in cloth made of material procured from the traders, and
some of these appear respectable enough when so dressed. They have been
so long in contact with the white people at Moose Factory, some of whom
had brought their wives from home with them, that the women have
imitated the dress of the latter. Certain of these women are skillful in
working fancy articles. The men occupy their time in hunting and
fishing. The reindeer have in recent years become so scarce in the
vicinity of Fort George that many of the Indians have left that locality
and journeyed to the eastward, dwelling in proximity to the Naskopies,
or even with them.

Both sexes are mild and sedate, although the women are exceedingly
garrulous when well acquainted.

These Indians are often employed to assist in the capture of the white
whale, which ascends the lower portions of the larger streams of that
district. They are the only Indians whom I have seen eating the flesh
and blubber of these whales. The Naskopies will not touch it, declaring
it to be too fat. The fins and tail are portions highly prized while
they are helping render out the blubber of these whales at Fort Chimo.

A point of great dissimilarity between the Naskopies and the Little
Whale river Indians is that the birch-bark canoe of the latter is much
more turned up at each end, producing a craft well adapted to the swift
currents of the rivers. The occupants are skillful boatmen, and will
fearlessly face wind and wave that would appall the heart of the
Naskopie. Sails are sometimes erected in a single canoe. At times two
canoes are lashed together and a sail spread from a single mast. This
double boat is very convenient for the traveler. These people are
strongly addicted to the practice of polygamy; and while they are
Christians externally, they are so only as long as they are within the
reach of the missionary.

Among those who had come to dwell in the Ungava district were several
who had, because of the opportunity, taken two wives. The missionary,
E. J. Peck, suddenly appeared among them as he was on his way to London.
On learning of the conduct of the people he gave them a sound rating and
besought them to relinquish the practice. They assented, and sent the
second wives away until the missionary was out of the country, and then
they took them back.

Girls are often taken as wives before they attain puberty, and for this
reason they seldom have large families. Two, three, or four children
form the usual number for each family. They are satisfied if the first
child is a male; and to the mother who delivers only female children a
term of contempt is often applied. The women appear to be well treated,
and occasional laxity of morals is not noticed among them so long as it
is not notorious.

Their beliefs and traditions were not learned by me, on account of the
presence of these people at Fort Chimo when other labors occupied my
entire time.

Their purchases are made with furs of the same kinds as those procured
in the Ungava district. The black bear is procured in great numbers by
these Indians. They preserve the under lip, dressed and ornamented with
beads and strips of cloth, as a trophy of their prowess.

The harpoon used in striking the white whale of their rivers is an
implement doubtless peculiar to those people, and much resembles that of
the Innuit.

(3) The third division of Indians includes those dwelling for the most
part in the Ungava district. The total number of these Indians is about
350. They apply the term Ne né not--true, ideal men--to themselves,
although known by the epithet Naskopie, which was applied to them by the
Mountaineers of the southeastern portion of the region.

They differ slightly in customs from their neighbors, but their speech
is somewhat different, being very rapidly uttered and with most singular
inflections of the voice. A conversation may be begun in the usual tone,
and in a moment changed to that of a whining or petulant child. It is
impossible for the white man to imitate this abrupt inflection, which
appears to be more common among the males than the females. During
ordinary conversation one would erroneously suppose, from the vehemence
of gesture, that the speaker was angry. They are much more demonstrative
than their neighbors, often shouting at the full strength of their
voices when an ordinary tone would apparently suffice. That their voice
is penetrating may be inferred from the fact that during quiet days it
is not unusual for parties to converse from opposite sides of the
Koksoak river, at Fort Chimo, where the river is nearly a mile and a
half wide.

As certain words are spoken in a voice scarcely louder than a whisper,
I did not believe it possible that they could understand each other at
so great a distance, until I saw the people on the opposite shore doing
what they were bidden by those with me.

When the women get together it is amusing to observe the eagerness of
the old crones endeavoring to make their voices heard above the rest.
The clerk, while trading with them, often teases them until the entire
number turn their voices on him, and the only relief he has is to expel
them all from the store and admit one or two at a time, while the
remainder throng the windows and shout at the top of their voices.

During the spring, when flocks of Canada geese are winging their way
northward, the Indians will imitate their notes so closely that the
birds do not discover the source until too late. Some of the party make
one note, while the others imitate the other note. It seldom fails to
beguile the geese to the spot.

Owing to the impossibility of getting a reliable person to teach me the
language of these people I was able to procure but few words. The number
obtained, however, is sufficient to prove that the people of this
region, excluding the Innuit and whites, belong to the Cree branch. The
Mountaineers and Little Whale river Indians belong to the same stock,
and the difference in their language is due wholly to environment.

The Indians and Innuit of this region are more or less directly in
contact. At Fort Chimo it is especially so. Here, as elsewhere, they do
not intermix, an Indian never taking an Innuit wife or the Innuit taking
a squaw for a wife. I knew of one instance where a Naskopie went to
dwell with some Innuit camped near the mouth of the Koksoak, but after
remaining away for a few days he returned to his own people.



The Eskimo with whom I was brought in contact at Fort Chimo were those
belonging to that immediate vicinity. They term themselves Koksoagmyut,
or people of the Koksoak or Big river.

The people who apply this name to themselves do not number more than a
score and a half. There are but four families, and among these are some
who belong to other localities, but now dwell with the Koksoagmyut. They
consider themselves a part of the people dwelling as far to the north as
the western end of Akpatok island, and to the east as far as George’s
river. The Eskimo dwelling between those points have similar habits, and
range indiscriminately over the hunting grounds of that locality, seldom
going farther southward than the confluence of the Larch river or the
North river with the Koksoak.

Among these few natives now inhabiting the Koksoak valley we find the
men to be above the stature usually ascribed to the Eskimo. All but one
of the adult males are above 5 feet 8 inches. The smallest man is little
more than 5½ feet tall. All are well proportioned and present an
exceptionally good physique. The females are also well proportioned,
and, in fact, appear to compare well with females of civilized countries
as far as their stature is concerned. The lower extremities of both
sexes really are shorter than the general appearance would indicate, and
thus the body is somewhat longer. The great individual variation in the
proportional length of the legs is doubtless the result of the way
infants are carried in the hood on the backs of the mothers. In this
constrained position the limbs were obliged to conform to the shape of
the body on which the child, in a manner, grew. While the limbs are not
decidedly curved, yet they are not so nearly under the body as those of
the whites. In walking, the inner edges of the feet often touch each
other, and, in a manner, tend to cause the boots to slip outward on the

The head, hands, and feet appear fairly proportioned; although, as a
rule, they have small hands and feet. The females have proportionally
smaller feet than hands. The head may seem larger than it really is,
on account of the flattened features of the face.

The average nose is large and flat, and the prominence of this organ is
often diminished by the wide cheeks and overhanging forehead. In most
cases the chin projects less than the nose. The average face is round
and flat, but there are exceptions, as I have seen one or two persons
whose faces were a regular oval, and with the exception of the flat
front, seen from a side view, were as well formed as one will meet among
other people.

The skin has the same differences of color as among white people. The
greater number of people are moderately dark, but this depends very
greatly on the season of the year. I have not seen any white people so
much changed as these are by the exposure to the summer sunshine. In the
winter they are confined to their huts and bleach to a lighter color.
A couple of weeks’ exposure renders them scarcely recognizable as the
same persons. The young children are usually lighter than the adults,
although some are quite dark. The hair is coarse, long and abundant,
and always straight.

The few half-breeds seen at Fort Chimo are the young children of
the male servants of the company, who have in two instances taken
full-blooded Eskimo women for wives and who were married by the agent of
the company. These children are quite pretty, the male favoring the
mother and the girl resembling the father. With these, as with the
children of natives, much depends on the cleanliness of the person.
The soot and other filth accumulating on their faces and hands, seldom
washed, of course modifies the appearance of the exposed portions of the
body. Some of the girls would be attractive enough if a copious amount
of water was used to remove the ridges of dirt which are too plainly
visible. The hands are often much disfigured from numerous cuts and
bruises, which, when healed over, leave a heightened scar of a whitish
color quite different in color from the surrounding tissue and often
presenting an unsightly appearance.

By the time puberty is attained the girls quickly change, and in a few
years begin to show the result of their arduous life by the appearance
of wrinkles, haggardness, and general breaking down, which, although it
may progress slowly, is seldom recovered from.

Like the rest of the Innuit, the Koksoagmyut are usually peaceful and
mild tempered. Among themselves affrays are of rare occurrence. Jealousy
arouses the worst passions, and the murder of the offender is generally
the result. When a person becomes so bad in character that the community
will no longer tolerate his presence he is forbidden to enter the huts,
partake of food, or hold any intercourse with the rest. Nevertheless, as
long as he threatens no one’s life, but little attention is paid to him.
Should he be guilty of a murder, several men watch their opportunity to
surprise him and put him to death, usually by stoning. The executioners
make no concealment of their action, and are supported by public opinion
in the community.

In the case of a premeditated murder, it is the duty of the next of kin
to avenge the deed, though years may pass, while the murderer pursues
his usual occupations undisturbed, before an opportunity occurs to the
relative for taking him by surprise. Sometimes the victim is not
overcome and turns upon the assailant and kills him. The man, now guilty
of two murders, is suffered to live only at the pleasure of the people,
who soon decree his death. That murder is not approved, either by the
individual or the community, is well attested by the fact that the
island of Akpatok is now tabooed since the murder of part of the crew of
a wrecked vessel, who camped on that island. Such a terrible scene was
too much, even for them; and now not a soul visits that locality, lest
the ghosts of the victims should appear and supplicate relief from the
natives, who have not the proper offerings to make to appease them.

Aged people who have no relatives on whom they may depend for
subsistence are often quietly put to death. When an old woman, for
instance, becomes a burden to the community it is usual for her to be
neglected until so weak from want of food that she will be unable to
keep up with the people, who suddenly are seized with a desire to remove
to a distant locality. If she regains their camp, well for her;
otherwise, she struggles along until exhausted and soon perishes.
Sometimes three or four of the males retrace their steps to recover a
lost whip or a forgotten ammunition bag. They rarely go farther than
where they find the helpless person, and if their track be followed it
will be found that the corpse has stones piled around it and is bound
with thongs.

An old woman at Port Chimo had but one eye, and this was continually
sore and very annoying to the people with whom she lived. They proposed
to strangle her to relieve her from her misery. The next morning the eye
was much better and the proposed cure was postponed.

Cases of suicide are not rare, considering the few people of that
locality. Pitching themselves from a cliff or producing strangulation
are the usual methods. Sometimes a gun is used. Remorse and disappointed
love are the only causes of suicide.

A man discovered, during a period of great scarcity of food, that while
he went in quest of food his wife had secretly stored away a quantity of
fish and ate of them during his absence only. Coming home unexpectedly,
he caught her eating and she endeavored to secrete the remainder. He
quietly went out of the snow hut and blocked up the entrance. She
inquired why he did so. His reply was for her to come out and she would
discover why it was done. His tone was not at all reassuring. She
remained within the hut and perished from starvation, knowing she would
be killed if she went out.

Instances are reported where, in times of great scarcity, families have
been driven to cannibalism after eating their dogs and the clothing and
other articles made of skins. Unlucky or disliked women are often driven
from the camp, and such must journey until they find relief or perish by
the wayside.


The principal diseases from which these people suffer are pulmonary
troubles, chiefly arising from their filthy manner of living in crowded
huts, too ill ventilated to allow the escape of the odors emanating from
their own bodies and from accumulations of slowly decomposing animal
food. All openings must be closed as quickly as possible in order to
economize the heat within, for when once chilled it is difficult to
restore the house to the proper degree of warmth. An Eskimo would always
prefer to erect a new hut of snow rather than pass the night in one
which has been deserted for only a single night if the doorway has not
been tightly closed with a block of snow.

Within the walls, reeking with the exhalations of various putrid
matters, the people breathe and rebreathe the air filled with poisonous
gases; so fully one-half of the Eskimo die of pulmonary troubles. The
other prevailing diseases are those causing devitalization of the blood,
such as scurvy. Sores break out on the shoulders, elbows, knees, and
ankles. The ravages of these diseases proceed at an astonishing rate,
soon carrying off the afflicted person.

The means of relief usually employed are those which the shaman
(or conjurer, as he is locally known) is able to effect by working on
the imagination of the sick, who is in this condition easily influenced.
The will power of both the patient and shaman is stretched to its utmost
tension, and as faith with them, as with many others of fairer skins,
often produces more of the relief than the ministrations of drugs or
drafts, the cure is effected, or else the shaman, like the physician,
has not the devil on his side.

The magnitude of the disease is generally measured by the amount of the
patient’s worldly wealth.


A woman is married as soon after puberty as a male comes along who has
the requisite physical strength to force her to become his wife. Many of
the females are taken before that period, and the result is that few
children are born to such unions and the children are generally weakly.

The ceremony between the couples is quite simple. The sanction of the
parents is sometimes obtained by favor or else bought by making certain
presents of skins, furs, and other valuables to the father and mother.
The girl is sometimes asked for her consent, and, if unwilling, often
enlists the sympathy of the mother, and the affair is postponed to a
more favorable opportunity, or till the suitor becomes disgusted with
her and takes somebody else.

If the parents are not living, the brothers or sisters must be favorable
to the union. There is often so much intriguing in these matters that
the exact truth can seldom be ascertained.

Where all obstacles are removed and only the girl refuses, it is not
long before she disappears mysteriously to remain out for two or three
nights with her best female friend, who thoroughly sympathizes with her.
They return, and before long she is abducted by her lover, and they
remain away until she proves to be thoroughly subjected to his will.
I knew of an instance where a girl was tied in a snow house for a period
of two weeks, and not allowed to go out. She finally submitted, and they
returned with the other couple, who were less obstreperous, and
doubtless went along to help their male friend and companion. The woman
left her husband in the course of two or three weeks, and when he was
asked about it he acknowledged that she had pulled nearly all the hair
from his head and showed numerous bruises where she had struck him. This
same woman was afterward tied to a sled to make her accompany the man
she subsequently chose as her husband, who wished her to go to another
part of the country. It was a lively time, some of the old women pushing
her and persuading, the younger ones doing all in their power to
obstruct her. Children are often mated at an early age, and I have known
of several instances where two friends, desirous of cementing their ties
of fellowship, engage that their children yet unborn shall be mated. In
such instances the children are always recognized as married, and they
are allowed by the parents to be so called. I knew a small boy of less
than seven years who always addressed a girl of apparently a year older
as his wife.

The marriageable age of the female varies greatly, although puberty
takes place early. I have known of a child of fourteen having children.
I heard of a half-breed girl, on the Labrador coast, who became a mother
a few months after the age of thirteen.

Monogamy is generally the rule, but as there are so many counteracting
influences it is seldom that a man keeps a wife for a number of years.
Jealousy resulting from a laxity of morals produces so much disagreement
that one or the other of the parties usually leave with little ceremony.

In rare instances, where there is a compatibility of temper and a
disposition to continence, the pair remain together for life.

Many of the girls bear children before they are taken for wives, but as
such incidents do not destroy the respectability of the mother the girl
does not experience any difficulty in procuring a husband. Illegitimate
children are usually taken care of by some aged woman, who devotes to it
all her energies and affections.

The number of children born varies greatly, for, although these Eskimos
are not a prolific race, a couple may occasionally claim parentage of as
many as ten children. Two or three is the usual number, and many die in
early childhood.

When the family is prosperous the husband often takes a second wife,
either with or without the approval of the first, who knows that her
household duties will be lessened, but knows also that the favors of her
husband will have to be divided with the second wife. The second wife is
often the cause of the first wife’s leaving, though sometimes she is
sent away herself. Three or four wives are sometimes attained by a
prosperous man, and one instance was known where the head of the family
had no less than five wives. The occupation of a single snow house by
two or three wives brings them into close intimacy and often produces
quarreling. The man hears but little of it, as he is strong enough to
settle their difficulties without ceremony, and in a manner better
adapted to create respect for brute strength than affection for him.

The females outnumber the males, but the relationship among the
Koksoagmyut is now so close that many of the males seek their wives from
other localities. This, of course, connects distant people, and
interchange of the natives of both sexes is common.

Separation of couples is effected in a simple manner. The one who so
desires leaves with little ceremony, but is sometimes sought for and
compelled to return. Wives are often taken for a period, and an exchange
of wives is frequent, either party being often happy to be released for
a time, and returning without concern. There is so much intriguing and
scandal-mongering among these people that a woman is often compelled by
the sentiment of the community to relinquish her choice and join another
who has bribed a conjurer to decide that until she comes to live with
him a certain person will not be relieved from the evil spirit now
tormenting him with disease.

The only way for the couple against whom such a plot has been laid to
escape separation is for them to flee to another locality and remain
there until the person gets well or dies, whereupon the conjurer
declares it was their cohabitation as man and wife which afflicted the
invalid. A designing woman will often cause a man to cast off the legal
wife to whom he is much attached and come and live with her. In such
instances the former wife seldom resents the intrusion upon her
affections and rights but occasionally gives the other a severe
thrashing and an injunction to look to herself lest she be discarded
also. The children of the cast-off woman are frequently taken by her and
they go to live with her relatives as menials on whom devolve the labor
of severest kinds, she being glad to obtain the refuse of the hovel to
support her life in order that her children may be well taken care of.

Some wives are considered as very “unlucky” and after trial are cast off
to shift for themselves. A woman who has obtained the reputation of
being unlucky for her husband is eschewed by all the men lest she work
some charm on them.

In social relations the head of the family comes first, and the oldest
son second, the other sons following according to respective ages.

The sons of the first wife, if there be more than one wife, take
precedence over those of the second or third wife. It may be that a man
has lost his first wife and takes another. The sons of these two are
considered as those of one wife so far as their relation to each other
is concerned. When the father becomes superannuated or his sons are old
enough to enable him to live without exertion, the management of affairs
devolves on the eldest son, and to the second is delegated the second
place. Each may be occupied in different affairs, but the elder alone
chooses what he himself shall do.

If the father live to a great age, and some of the men certainly attain
the age of more than 80 years, he may have great grandchildren about
him, and these never fail to show respect for their ancestor.

All this family may dwell in a single tent, or in two or more tents.
Where the leader directs, there they all repair, although each one who
is at the head of a family may be left to employ himself as he may
prefer. These sons, with their wives and children, form a community,
which may have other persons added to it, namely, the persons who are
related to the wives of the sons. There may be but one community in a
locality, and this is locally known to the white people as the “gang” of
the head man.

Families whose members have decreased in number by death or by marriage
may seek the companionship of one of these communities for protection.
The new arrival at once acknowledges his dependence and is, in a manner,
under the influence, if not control, of the leader of the community
which he joins.


A new born babe must not be washed until six or eight hours have
elapsed. It is then placed to the breast and rarely gets any water to
drink until old enough to help itself to it.

The child may be named while yet in utero. There being no distinctions
for sex in names the appellation can scarcely be amiss. Several names
may be acquired from the most trivial circumstances. Old names may be
discarded and new names substituted or certain names applied by certain
people and not used by others.

Love for offspring is of the deepest and purest character. I have never
seen a disrespectful Eskimo child. Mothers and fathers never inflict
corporal punishment on their children, for these are early taught to
obey, or rather they are quick to perceive that their parents are their
protectors and to them they must go for assistance. Orphan girls are
taken as nurses for small children, and the nurse so employed has seldom
any trouble in controlling the child.

Among young children at play the greatest harmony prevails. An accident
resulting in sufficient harm to cause tears obtains the sympathy of all,
who strive to appease the injured child by offers of the greatest share
of the game, the little fellow often smiling with the prospective
pleasure while the tears yet course down his begrimed cheeks. In a
moment all is forgotten and joyous shouts sound merrily as the chubby
youngsters of both sexes redouble their exertion in playing football or
building toy houses in the newly fallen snow, where, on the bed of snow
within the wall of the hut, the doll of ivory, wood or rags rolled into
its semblance, plays the part of hostess whom they pretend to visit and
with whom they converse.

Among the younger boys and girls, of 10 or 12, there is a great spirit
of cheerful rivalry, to prove their ability to secure such food as they
are able to capture. If they can procure enough to purchase some
ammunition with which to kill ptarmigan they soon have a certain amount
of credit. This enables them to provide some coveted luxury for their
parents, who, of course, aid and encourage them to become successful
hunters. Within the huts the girls display their skill by sewing
fragments of cloth into garments for dolls or striving to patch their
tattered clothes.

The older boys look with contempt upon these childish occupations and,
to show their superiority, often torment the younger ones until the
father or mother compels them to desist. Pranks of various kinds are
played upon each other and they often exhibit great cunning in their
devices to annoy. These boys are able to accompany their elders on
hunting trips and run ahead of the team of dogs attached to the sled.


When a person dies the body is prepared by binding it with cords, the
knees being drawn up and the heels placed against the body. The arms are
tied down, and a covering of deerskin or sealskin is wrapped around the
body and fastened. The nearest relatives on approach of death remove the
invalid to the outside of the house, for if he should die within he must
not be carried out of the door but through a hole cut in the side wall,
and it must then be carefully closed to prevent the spirit of the person
from returning. The body is exposed in the open air along the side of a
large rock, or taken to the shore or hilltop, where stones of different
sizes are piled around it to prevent the birds and animals from getting
at it. (See Fig. 21.) It is considered a great offense if a dog be seen
eating the flesh from a body. In case of a beloved child dying it is
sometimes taken with the people to whom it belonged if they start for
another locality before decomposition has progressed too far.

  [Illustration: FIG. 21. Eskimo grave.]

The dying person resigns himself to fate with great calmness. During
illness, even though it be of most painful character, complaint is
seldom heard; and so great is fortitude that the severest paroxysms of
pain rarely produce even a movement of the muscles of the countenance.

The friends often exhibit an excessive amount of grief, but only in
exceptional instances is much weeping indulged in. The loss of a husband
often entails great hardships on the wife and small children, who eke
out a scanty living by the aid of others who are scarcely able to
maintain themselves.

These people have an idea of a future state and believe that death is
merely the separation of the soul and the material body. The spirits of
the soul go either up to the sky, “keluk,” when they are called
Kelugmyut, or down into the earth, “Nuna,” and are called “Nunamyut.”
These two classes of spirits can hold communication with each other.

The place to which the soul goes depends on the conduct of the person on
earth and especially on the manner of his death. Those who have died by
violence or starvation and women who die in childbirth are supposed to
go to the region above, where, though not absolutely in want, they still
lack many of the luxuries enjoyed by the Nunamyut. All desire to go to
the lower region and afterwards enjoy the pleasure of communicating with
the living, which privilege is denied to those who go above.

If death result from natural causes the spirit is supposed to dwell on
the earth after having undergone a probation of four years rest in the
grave. During this time the grave may be visited and food offered and
songs sung, and the offering, consisting of oil and flesh, with tobacco
for smoking and chewing, is consumed by the living at the grave.
Articles of clothing may also be deposited near the grave for the spirit
to clothe itself after the garments have disappeared in the process of
decay. It is customary to place such articles as may be deemed of
immediate use for the departed soul in the grave at the time the body is
interred. Ammunition, gun, kaiak and its appurtenances, with a shirt,
gloves, knife, and a cup from which to drink are usually so deposited.
The spirit of the dead man appropriates the spirits of these articles as
soon as they decay. It is often said when an article becomes lost that
so-and-so (mentioning his name), has taken it.

Some of the people prefer to expose their dead on the flat top of a high
point extending into the water. The remains of others are placed along
the shore and covered with rocks, while still others are taken to the
smooth ridges on which may nearly always be found a huge bowlder carried
by glacial action and deposited there. Here generally on the south side
the body is placed on the bare rocky ridge and stones are piled around
and upon it.

While these people have but little fear of the dead man’s bones they do
not approve of their being disturbed by others. The Indians, however,
are known to rifle the graves of Eskimo to obtain the guns, clothing,
etc., which the relatives of the deceased have placed there.

There are no such elaborate ceremonies pertaining to the festivals of
the dead among the people of Hudson strait as obtain among the Eskimo of


Among these people there is no such person as chief; yet there is a
recognized leader who is influenced by another, and this last is the
conjurer or medicine-man. These two persons determine among themselves
what shall be done. It sometimes happens that slight differences of
opinion on the proper course to pursue collectively will cause them to
go in different directions to meet after a few months’ separation, by
which time all is forgotten and former relations are resumed.

All the affairs of life are supposed to be under the control of spirits,
each of which rules over a certain element, and all of which are under
the direction of a greater spirit. Each person is supposed to be
attended by a special guardian who is malignant in character, ever ready
to seize upon the least occasion to work harm upon the individual whom
it accompanies. As this is an evil spirit its good offices and
assistance can be obtained by propitiation only. The person strives to
keep the good will of the evil spirit by offerings of food, water, and

The spirit is often in a material form in the shape of a doll, carried
somewhere about the person. If it is wanted to insure success in the
chase, it is carried in the bag containing the ammunition.

When an individual fails to overcome the obstacles in his path the
misfortune is attributed to the evil wrought by his attending spirit,
whose good will must be invoked. If the spirit prove stubborn and
reluctant to grant the needed assistance the person sometimes becomes
angry with it and inflicts a serious chastisement upon it, deprives it
of food, or strips it of its garments, until after a time it proves less
refractory and yields obedience to its master. It often happens that the
person is unable to control the influence of the evil-disposed spirit
and the only way is to give it to some person without his knowledge.
The latter becomes immediately under the control of the spirit, and the
former, released from its baleful effects, is able successfully to
prosecute the affairs of life. In the course of time the person
generally relents and takes back the spirit he gave to another. The
person on whom the spirit has been imposed should know nothing of it
lest he should refuse to accept it. It is often given in the form of a
bundle of clothing. It is supposed that if in hunting somebody merely
takes the bag to hang it up the influence will pass to him. The spirit
is supposed to be able to exert its influence only when carried by some
object having life. Hence the person may cast it away for a time, and
during that period it remains inert.

Besides this class of spirits, there are the spirits of the sea, the
land, the sky (for be it understood that the Eskimo know nothing of the
air), the winds, the clouds, and everything in nature. Every cove of the
seashore, every point, island, and prominent rock has its guardian
spirit. All are of the malignant type and to be propitiated only by
acceptable offerings from persons who desire to visit the locality where
it is supposed to reside. Of course some of the spirits are more
powerful than others, and these are more to be dreaded than those able
to inflict less harm.

These minor spirits are under the control of the great spirit, whose
name is “Tung ak.” This one great spirit is more powerful than all the
rest besides. The lesser spirits are immediately under his control and
ever ready to obey his command. The shaman (or conjurer) alone is
supposed to be able to deal with the Tung ak. While the shaman does not
profess to be superior to the Tung ak, he is able to enlist his
assistance and thus be able to control all the undertakings his
profession may call for.

This Tung ak is nothing more or less than death, which ever seeks to
torment and harass the lives of people that their spirits may go to
dwell with him.

A legend related of the origin of the Tung ak is as follows: A father
had a son and daughter whom he loved very much. The children fell ill
and at last died, although the father did all in his power to alleviate
their sufferings, showing his kindness and attentions to the last
moment. At their death the father became changed to a vicious spirit,
roaming the world to destroy any person whom he might meet, determined
that, as his dear children died, none others should live.

Tung ak visits people of all ages, constantly placing obstacles in their
pathway to prevent the accomplishment of their desires, and provoking
them beyond endurance so as to cause them to become ill and die and go
to live with him. Tung ak no longer knows his own children and imagines
all persons that he meets to be his children. Famine, disease, and death
are sent abroad to search for these lost children.

People at last began to devise some means of thwarting the designs of
Tung ak and discovered that a period of fasting and abstinence from
contact with other people endowed a person with supernatural powers and
enabled him to learn the secrets of Tung ak. This is accomplished by
repairing to some lonely spot, where for a greater or less period the
hermit abstains from food or water until the imagination is so worked
upon that he believes himself imbued with the power to heal the sick and
control all the destinies of life. Tung ak is supposed to stand near and
reveal these things while the person is undergoing the test. When the
person sees the evil one ready to seize upon him if he fails in the
self-imposed task to become an “Angekok” or great one, he is much
frightened and beseeches the terrible visitor to spare his life and give
him the power to relieve his people from misfortune. Tung ak then takes
pity on him, and imparts to him the secret of preserving life, or
driving out the evil which causes death.

This is still the process by which the would-be shaman fits himself for
his supernatural duties.

The newly fledged angekok returns to his people and relates what he has
seen and what he has done. The listeners are awed by the recitals of the
sufferings and ordeal, and he is now ready to accomplish his mission.
When his services are required he is crafty enough to demand sufficient
compensation, and frankly states that the greater the pay the greater
the good bestowed. A native racked with pain will gladly part with all
of his worldly possessions in order to be restored to health.

The shaman is blindfolded, or else has a covering thrown over his head
to prevent his countenance from being seen during the incantation. The
patient lies on the ground before him and when the shaman is worked up
to the proper state of frenzy he prostrates himself upon the afflicted
person and begins to chase the evil from its seat. The patient often
receives blows and jerks sufficiently hard to dislocate the joints. As
the spell progresses the shaman utters the most hideous noises, shouting
here and there as the evil flees to another portion of the body, seeking
a retreat from which the shaman shall be unable to dislodge it. After a
time victory is declared; the operator claims to have the disease under
his control, and although it should escape and make itself again felt in
the patient, the shaman continues until the person either gets well or
dies. If the former, the reputation of the shaman is increased
proportionally to the payment bestowed by the afflicted one. If he dies,
however, the conjurer simply refers his failure to the interference of
something which was beyond his control. This may have been the influence
of anything the shaman may at the moment think of, such as a sudden
appearance in the changing auroras, a fall of snow, or a dog knocking
down something outside of the house. If the people deny that the dog did
the act, the shaman replies that the dog was the instrument in the hands
of a spirit which escaped him. Any little incident is sufficient to
thwart the success of his manipulations. If any person be the subject of
the shaman’s displeasure he or she must undergo some sort of punishment
or do an act of penance for the interference. It is not unusual to see a
person with the harness of a dog on his back. This is worn to relieve
him or somebody else of a spell of the evil spirit. The tail of a living
dog is often cut from its body in order that the fresh blood may be cast
upon the ground to be seen by the spirit who has caused the harm, and
thus he may be appeased. Numerous mutilations are inflicted upon animals
at the command of the conjurer, who must be consulted on nearly all the
important undertakings of life in order that he may manage the spirits
which will insure success.

The implicit belief in these personages is wonderful. Almost every
person who can do anything not fully understood by others has more or
less reputation as a shaman.

Some men, by observation, become skilled in weather lore, and get a
great reputation for supernatural knowledge of the future weather.
Others again are famous for suggesting charms to insure success in
hunting, and, in fact, the occasions for consulting the conjurer are
practically innumerable. One special qualification of a good shaman is
the ability to attract large numbers of deer or other game into the
region where he and his friends are hunting.

Some of these shamans are superior hunters and, as their experience
teaches them the habits of the deer, they know at any season exactly
where the animals are and can anticipate their future movements,
influenced greatly by the weather. Thus the prophet is able to estimate
the proximity or remoteness of the various herds of stragglers from the
main body of deer which were in the locality during the preceding fall
months. These hunters have not only a local reputation but are known as
far as the people have any means of communication.

In order to cause the deer to move toward the locality where they may be
desired the shaman will erect, on a pole placed in a favorable position,
an image of some famous hunter and conjurer. The image will represent
the power of the person as conjurer and the various paraphernalia
attached to the image assist in controlling the movements of the

  [Illustration: FIG. 22. Magic doll.]

I obtained one of these objects at Fort Chimo. (Fig. 22.) It is quite
elaborate and requires a detailed description. It is intended to
represent a celebrated conjurer living on the eastern shore of Hudson
bay. He occasionally visited Fort Chimo where his reputation as a hunter
had preceded him. His name is Sa´pa.

He is dressed in a complete suit of the woolen stuff called “strouds” at
Fort Chimo, trimmed with black and with fancy tartan gartering. In the
belt of polar-bear skin (kak-cung´-unt) (Fig. 23) are hung strings of
colored beads and various amulets. These are, first, a wooden doll
(Fig. 24) (ĭnug´-wak, a little man) hung to the belt so that he faces
outward and is always on the alert; then, two bits of wood (agówak)
(Fig. 25) to which hang strands of beads and lead drops; next, a string
of three bullets (Fig. 26) to symbolize the readiness of the hunter when
game approaches; and, last, a semicircular piece of wood ornamented with
strings of beads (Fig. 27).

  [Illustration: FIG. 23. Belt of magic doll.]

This last is called the tu-a´-vi-tok, or hastener. The hunter holds it
in his hand when he sights the game, and the tighter he grasps it the
faster he is supposed to get over the ground. It is supposed that by the
use of this one may be able to travel faster than the wind and not even
touch the earth over which he passes with such incredible speed that he
overtakes the deer in a moment. The entire affair, as it hung on the
pole, was called tung wa´gn e´nog ang´, or a materialization of a
Tung ak.

This object hung there for several days until I thought it had served
its purpose and could now afford to change ownership. The local conjurer
was thus compelled to invoke the assistance of another. I am happy to
add that the deer did come, and in thousands, actually running among the
houses of the station.

The shaman of the community possesses great influence over its members.
He very frequently decides the course to be pursued by man and wife in
their relations with each other, and, conspiring with some evil old
woman who loves to show preference for a young man, he often decrees
that husband or wife shall be cast off.

  [Illustration: FIG. 24. Talisman attached to magic doll.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 25. Talisman.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 26. Talisman.]

If the person become ill the wife is often accused of working some charm
on her husband in order that she may enjoy the favors of another.
A woman whose husband had recently died was espoused by another who soon
after became violently ill. She nursed him with the greatest assiduity
until he convalesced. At this period his mother, with the advice of some
old hags, decreed that she had been the sole cause of her husband’s
illness and must leave the tent. Her things were pitched out and she was
compelled to journey in quest of her relatives.

Another illustration came under my notice.

A widow was taken to wife by a Koksoak Eskimo. He was soon taken
violently ill and she was accused by the shaman of being the cause of
it, as the spirit of her deceased husband was jealous. Unless she were
cast off the Koksoak man would never recover. It was then also found
that unless the wife of another man should desert him and become the
wife of a man who already had two of this woman’s sisters as wives the
sick man would die. The woman and her husband escaped divorce by fleeing
from the camp.

  [Illustration: FIG. 27. Talisman.]

The shaman may do about as he pleases with the marriage ties, which
oftener consist of sealskin thongs than respect and love. Many old hags
have acquired great reputations for being able to interpret dreams. An
instance of dream interpretation, which also illustrates how a person
may acquire a new name, came under my observation. A woman, sitting
alone, heard a noise like the rapping of someone at the door desiring
admittance. She said, “Come in.” No one appeared, and she inquired of
the girl who acted as nurse for her child if anyone had knocked at the
door. A negative answer was given. Further questioning of a white man,
who was asleep near by, revealed that he had made no such sound. The
woman knew that no man had died within the place and so his spirit could
not be seeking admittance. She went to an old woman and related the
affair, and was informed that it was the rapping of her brother, who had
died suddenly some two years before. She must go home and prepare a cup
of tea, with a slice of bread, and give it to the nurse, as her brother,
Nakvak (the one who died) was hungry and wanted food. She especially
enjoined upon the woman that the girl must now be known as Nakvak
(meaning “found”) and that through her the dead would procure the food
which, although it subserves a good purpose in nourishing the living,
tends, by its accompanying spirit, to allay the pangs of hunger in the

As I have already said, everything in the world is believed to have its
attendant spirit. The spirits of the lower animals are like those of
men, but of an inferior order. As these spirits, of course, can not be
destroyed by killing the animals, the Eskimo believe that no amount of
slaughter can really decrease the numbers of the game.

A great spirit controls the reindeer. He dwells in a huge cavern near
the end of Cape Chidley. He obtains and controls the spirit of every
deer which is slain or dies, and it depends on his good will whether the
people shall obtain future supplies. The form of the spirit is that of a
huge white bear. The shaman has the power to prevail upon the spirit to
send the deer to the people who are represented as suffering for want of
food. The spirit is informed that the people have in no way offended
him, as the shaman, as a mediator between the spirit and the people, has
taken great care that the past food was all eaten and that last spring,
when the female deer were returning to him to be delivered of their
young, none of the young (or fœtal) deer were devoured by the dogs.
After much incantation the shaman announces that the spirit condescends
to supply the people with spirits of the deer in a material form and
that soon an abundance will be in the land. He enjoins upon the people
to slay and thus obtain the approval of the spirit, which loves to see
good people enjoy an abundance, knowing that so long as the people
refrain from feeding their dogs with the unborn young, the spirits of
the deer will in time return again to his guardianship.

Certain parts of the first deer killed must be eaten raw, others
discarded, and others must be eaten cooked. The dogs must not be allowed
to taste of the flesh, and not until an abundance has been obtained must
they be allowed to gnaw at the leg bones, lest the guardian spirit of
the deer be offended and refuse to send further supplies. If by some
misfortune the dogs get at the meat, a piece of the offending dog’s tail
is cut off or his ear is cropped to allow a flow of blood.

Ceremonies of some kind attend the capture of the first slain animal of
all the more important kinds. I unfortunately had no opportunity of
witnessing many of these ceremonies.

As a natural consequence of the superstitious beliefs that I have
described, the use of amulets is universal. Some charms are worn to ward
off the attacks of evil-disposed spirits. Other charms are worn as
remembrances of deceased relatives. These have the form of a headless
doll depending from some portion of the garment worn on the upper part
of the body.

As many of their personal names are derived from natural objects, it is
usual for the person to wear a little image of the object for which he
is named or a portion of it; for example, a wing of the bird, or a bit
of the animal’s skin. This is supposed to gratify the spirit of the
object. Strange or curious objects never before seen are sometimes
considered to bring success to the finder.

  [Illustration: FIG. 28. Eskimo woman’s amulet.]

Two articles selected from my collection will illustrate different forms
of amulets. The first, No. 3018, is a little wooden model of a kaiak.
The other (3090, Fig. 28) was worn on the back of a woman’s coat. It is
a small block of wood carved into four human heads. These heads
represent four famous conjurers noted for their skill in driving away
diseases. The woman, who came from the eastern shore of Hudson’s bay,
was troubled with rheumatism and wore this charm from time to time as
she felt the twinges of pain. She assured me that the pain always
disappeared in a few hours when she wore it. It was with the greatest
difficulty that I persuaded her to part with it. She was, however, about
to return home, and could get another there.


The Eskimo acquire an extended knowledge of the country by early
accompanying their parents on hunting trips, and as they have to rely
upon memory alone, they must be observant and carefully mark the
surroundings from all the views afforded. The faculty of memory is thus
cultivated to an astonishing degree, and seldom fails, even in the most
severe weather, to insure safety for the individual. I knew a native
stick his ramrod in the ground among scattered stalks of grass which
attained the height of the rod, yet after several hours he found the
spot again without the least hesitation. Every rise of land, every curve
of a stream, every cove in the seashore, has a name descriptive of
something connected with it, and these names are known to all who have
occasion to visit the place. Though the aspect of the land is entirely
changed by the mantle of snow which covers all the smaller objects,
a hunter will go straight to the place where the carcass of a single
deer was cached many months before on the open beach. The Eskimo are
faithful guides, and when confidence is shown to be reposed in them they
take a pride in leading the party by the best route. In traveling by
night they use the north star for the guide. Experience teaches them to
foretell the weather, and some reliance may be placed on their

Their knowledge of the seasons is also wonderful. The year begins when
the sun has reached its lowest point, that is, at the winter solstice,
and summer begins with the summer solstice. They recognize the arrival
of the solstices by the bearing of the sun with reference to certain
fixed landmarks.

The seasons have distinctive names, and these are again subdivided into
a great number, of which there are more during the warmer weather than
during the winter. The reason for this is obvious: so many changes are
going on during the summer and so few during the winter. The principal
events are the return of the sun, always a signal of joy to the people;
the lengthening of the day; the warm weather in March when the sun has
attained sufficient height to make his rays less slanting and thus be
more fervent; the melting of the snow; the breaking up of the ice; the
open water; the time of birth of various seals; the advent of exotic
birds; the nesting of gulls, eiders, and other native birds; the arrival
of white whales and the whaling season; salmon fishing; the ripening of
salmonberries and other species of edibles; the time of reindeer
crossing the river; the trapping of fur-bearing animals and hunting on
land and water for food. Each of these periods has a special name
applied to it, although several may overlap each other. The appearance
of mosquitoes, sand-flies, and horseflies are marked by dates
anticipated with considerable apprehension of annoyance.

In order to sketch the annual routine of life, I will begin with the
breaking up of the ice in spring. The Koksoak river breaks its ice about
the last of May. This period, however, may vary as much as ten days
earlier and twenty days later than the date specified. The ice in Ungava
bay, into which that river flows, must be free from the greater portion
of the shore ice before the river ice can push its way out to sea. The
winds alone influence the bay ice, and the character of the weather
toward the head waters of the river determines its time of breaking.

The Eskimo has naturally a keen perception of the signs in the sky and
is often able to predict with certainty the effects of the preceding
weather. When the season has sufficiently advanced all the belongings of
each family are put together and transported down the river on sleds to
where the ice has not yet gone from the mouth of the river. It is very
seldom that the river ice extends down so far. To the edge of the ice
the tent and dogs, with the umiak, kaiak, and other personal property,
are taken and then stored on shore until the outside ice is free.

The men wander along the beach or inland hunting for reindeer,
ptarmigan, hares, and other land game. The edge of the water is searched
for waterfowl of various kinds which appear earliest. Some venturesome
seals appear. In the course of a few days the ice in the river breaks up
and the shore ice of the bay is free; and if there is a favorable wind
it soon permits the umiak to be put into the water, where, by easy
stages, depending on the weather, the quantity of floating ice, and the
food supply, the hunters creep alongshore to the objective point, be it
either east or west of the Koksoak. Sometimes the party divide, some
going in one direction and others in another.

The men seek for seals, hunting in the kaiak, the women and children
searching the islets and coves for anything edible. As soon as the
season arrives for the various gulls, eiders, and other sea birds to
nest the women and children are in high glee. Every spot is carefully
examined, and every accessible nest of a bird is robbed of its contents.
By the 25th of June the people have exhausted the supply of eggs from
the last situations visited and now think of returning, as the birds
have again deposited eggs and the seals are becoming scarcer.

The Eskimo arrange to assist the company to drive white whales when the
season arrives. This is as soon as they appear in the river at a
sufficient distance up to warrant that the measures pursued will not
drive them out of the fresh water, for if they left they would not soon
return. The date usually fixed upon is about the 12th of July. The
natives are summoned, and a large sailboat or the small steam launch is
sent along the coast to the place where the people were expected to
arrive the 5th of the month. The natives are brought to the whaling
station, where they encamp, to await the setting of the nets forming the
sides of the inclosure into which the whales are to be driven.

The natives spear the whales in the pound, drag them ashore, skin them,
and help take the oil and skins to the post, some eight miles farther up
the river.

The same natives who engaged in the whaling are employed to attend the
nets for salmon, which arrive at variable dates from the 25th of July to
the 1st of September. Two or more adult male Eskimo, with their
relatives, occupy a certain locality, generally known by the name of the
person in charge of that season’s work. The place is occupied until the
runs of the fish are over, when it is time for the natives to be up the
river to spear reindeer which cross the river.

This hunting lasts until the deer have begun to rut and the males have
lost the fat from the small of the back. The season is now so far
advanced that the ice is already forming along the shore, and unless the
hunter intends to remain in that locality he would better begin to
descend the river to a place nearer the sea. The river may freeze in a
single night and the umiak be unable to withstand the constant strain of
the sharp-edged cakes of floating ice.

The head of the family decides where the winter is to be passed and
moves thither with his party at once. Here he has a few weeks of rest
from the season’s labors, or spends the time constructing a sled for the
winter journeys he may have in view. The snow has now fallen so that a
snow house may be constructed and winter quarters taken up. A number of
steel traps are procured to be set for foxes and other fur-bearing
animals. The ptarmigans arrive in large flocks and are eagerly hunted
for their flesh and feathers. The birds are either consumed for food or
sold to the company, which pays 6¼ cents for four, and purchases the
body feathers of the birds at the rate of 4 pounds of the feathers for
25 cents.

The Eskimo soon consume the amount of deer meat they brought with them
on their return and subsist on the flesh of the ptarmigan until the ice
is firm enough to allow the sleds to be used to transport to the present
camp meat of animals slain in the fall.

The traps are visited and the furs are sold to the company in exchange
for flour, tea, sugar, molasses, biscuit, clothing, and ammunition.
Hunting excursions are made to various localities for stray bands of
deer that have become separated from the larger herds.

The white men employés of the company have been engaged in cutting wood
for the next year’s fuel, and the Eskimo with their dog teams are hired
to haul it to the bank, where it may be floated down in rafts when the
river opens.

Thus passes the year in the life of the Eskimo of the immediate vicinity
of Fort Chimo. Some of the Koksoagmyut do not engage in these
occupations. Some go to another locality to live by themselves; others
do not work or hunt, because it is not their nature to do so.

In all undertakings for themselves they deliberate long, with much
hesitation and apparent reluctance, before they decide upon the line of
action. They consult each other and weigh the advantages of this over
that locality for game, and speculate on whether they will be afflicted
with illness of themselves or family. When the resolution is finally
made to journey to a certain place, only the most serious obstacles can
thwart their purpose.

At all seasons of the year the women have their allotted duties, which
they perform without hesitation. They bring the wood and the water, and
the food from the field, if it is not too distant, in which case the men
go after it with the dog teams. The women also fashion the skins into
clothing and other articles, and do the cooking. After a hunt of several
days’ duration the husband’s appearance is anxiously awaited, as is
indicated by the family scanning the direction whence he is expected.
The load is taken from the sled or boat and the incidents of the chase
recited to the ever ready listeners.

In the early spring the women are busily engaged in making boots for
summer wear. The skins of the seals have been prepared the fall before
and stored away until wanted. The method of tanning the skins is the
same for each species, differing only in its size and weight.

Certain large vessels made of wood or metal, chiefly the latter, as they
are easily procured from the traders, are used to hold a liquid, which
is from time to time added to. When a sufficient amount is collected it
is allowed to ferment. During the interval the skin of the seal is
cleansed from fat and flesh. The hair has been removed by shaving it off
or by pulling it out. The skin is then dressed with an instrument
designed for that purpose, made of ivory, deerhorn, stone, or even a
piece of tin set in the end of a stout stick several inches long. The
skin is held in the hand and the chisel-shaped implement is repeatedly
pushed from the person and against a portion of the skin until that part
becomes pliable and soft enough to work. It is further softened by
rubbing between the hands with a motion similar to that of the
washerwoman rubbing clothing of the wash. Any portion of the skin which
will not readily yield to this manipulation is chewed with the front
teeth until it is reduced to the required pliability. After this
operation has been completed the skin is soaked in the liquid, which has
now ripened to a sufficient degree to be effective. In this it is laid
for a period lasting from several hours to two or three days. The skin
is now taken out and dried. The subsequent operation of softening is
similar to that just described, and is final. It is now ready to be cut
into the required shape for the various articles for which it is
intended. If it is designed for boots for a man, the measure of the
height of the leg is taken. The length and width of the sole is measured
by the hand, stretching so far and then bending down the long or middle
finger until the length is measured. The width of one, two, or more
fingers is sometimes used in addition to the span. The length is thus
marked and the skin folded over so as to have it doubled. The knife used
in cutting is shaped like the round knife used by the harness-maker or

There is in our collection a wooden model of this form of knife
(No. 3022), which nowadays always has a blade of metal. Formerly slate,
flint, or ivory was used for these blades.

The instrument is always pushed by the person using it. The eye alone
guides the knife, except on work for a white man, and then greater care
is exercised and marks employed indicating the required size. This round
knife is called úlo.

Another important duty of the women is taking care of the family boots.
When a pair of boots has been worn for some time, during a few hours in
warm weather they absorb moisture and become nearly half an inch thick
on the soles. When taken off they must be turned inside out and dried,
then chewed and scraped by some old woman, who is only too glad to have
the work for the two or three biscuit she may receive as pay. Any leak
or hole is stitched, and when the sole has holes worn through it, it is
patched by sewing a piece on the under side. The thread used in sewing
the boots is selected from the best strips of sinew from the reindeer or

Some women excel in boot-making, and at some seasons do nothing but make
boots, while the others in return prepare the other garments. When the
time comes in spring for making sealskin clothes, the women must not sew
on any piece of deerskin which has not yet been sewed, lest the seals
take offense and desert the locality which has been selected for the
spring seal hunt, to which all the people look forward with longing,
that they may obtain a supply of food different from that which they
have had during the long winter months. As there can be no harm in
killing a deer at this season, the flesh may be used, but the skin must
be cast away.

As before stated, the entire family accompany the expeditions; and as
the females are often the more numerous portion of the population, they
row the umiak at their leisure, now and then stopping to have a few
hours’ run on shore and again embarking. While thus journeying they are
at times a sleepy crowd, until something ahead attracts attention; then
all become animated, pursuing the object, if it be a half-fledged bird,
until it is captured. Great amusement is thus afforded for the time,
after which they relapse until some excitement again arouses them from
their apparent lethargy. At the camp the men go in quest of larger game,
leaving the women and children, who search the shore for any living
creature they may find, destroying all that comes in their way. Smoking,
eating, and sleeping occupy them until they arrive at a locality where
food is abundant. There they earnestly strive to slay all that comes
within reach, and thus often obtain much more than they require, and the
remainder is left to putrefy on the rocks. The women do the skinning of
the seals and birds obtained on this trip. The skins of birds are
removed in a peculiar manner. The wings are cut off at the body, and
through the incision all the flesh and bones are taken out. The skin is
then turned inside out. The grease is removed by scraping and chewing.
The skin is dried and preserved for wear on the feet or for the purpose
of cleansing the hands, which have become soiled with blood or other
offal in skinning large game.

When the season arrives for hunting the reindeer for their skins, with
which to make clothing for winter, the women help to prepare the flesh
and bring the wood and water for the camp, while the men are ever on the
alert for the herds of deer on the land or crossing the water. The women
hang the skins over poles until the greater portion of the animal matter
is dry, when they roll them up and store them away until the party is
ready to return to the permanent camp for the winter. Here the skins
collected are carefully examined and suitable ones selected for winter

The skins are moistened with water and the adherent fleshy particles are
removed with a knife. They are then roughly scraped and again wetted,
this time with urine, which is supposed to render them more pliable. The
operation is practically the same as that of tanning sealskins. The hair
is, of course, left on the skin. When the skins are finally dry and
worked to the required pliability, they are cut into shape for the
various articles of apparel. The thread used in sewing is simply a strip
of sinew of the proper size. The fibers are separated by splitting off a
sufficient amount, and with the finger nail the strip is freed from all
knots or smaller strands which would prevent drawing through the needle
holes. The thread for this purpose is never twisted or plaited. The
needle is one procured from the trader. Small bone needles, imitations
of these, are sometimes used. In former years the bone needle was the
only means of carrying the thread, but this has now, except in the
rarest instances, been entirely superseded by one of metal.

The thimble is simply a piece of stiff sealskin sewed into a ring half
an inch wide to slip on the first finger, and has the same name as that
member. In sewing of all kinds the needle is pointed toward the
operator. The knife used in cutting skins is the same as that previously
described. Scissors are not adapted to cutting a skin which retains the
fur. So far as my observations goes, scissors are used only for cutting
textile fabrics procured from the store.

In the use of a knife women acquire a wondrous dexterity, guiding it to
the desired curve with much skill, or using the heel of the blade to
remove strips which may need trimming off.


In former years the women were fancifully tattooed with curved lines and
rows of dots on the face, neck, and arms, and on the legs up to
mid-thigh. This custom, however, fell into disuse because some shaman
declared that a prevailing misfortune was the result of the tattooing.
At present the tattooing is confined to a few single dots on the body
and face. When a girl arrives at puberty she is taken to a secluded
locality by some old woman versed in the art and stripped of her
clothing. A small quantity of half-charred lamp wick of moss is mixed
with oil from the lamp. A needle is used to prick the skin, and the
pasty substance is smeared over the wound. The blood mixes with it,
and in a day or two a dark-bluish spot alone is left. The operation
continues four days. When the girl returns to the tent it is known that
she has begun to menstruate. A menstruating woman must not wear the
lower garments she does at other times. The hind flap of her coat must
be turned up and stitched to the back of the garment. Her right hand
must be half-gloved, or, in other words, the first two joints of each
finger of that hand must be uncovered. The left hand also remains
uncovered. She must not touch certain skins and food which at that
particular season are in use.


Like most Eskimo, the Koksoagmyut are clothed almost entirely in the
skins of animals, though the men now wear breeches of moleskin, duck,
jeans, or denim procured from the trading store. Reindeerskin is the
favorite material for clothing, though skins of the different seals are
also used. The usual garments are a hooded frock, of different shapes
for the sexes, with breeches and boots. The latter are of various shapes
for different weather, and there are many patterns of mittens. Rain
frocks of seal entrail are also worn over the furs in stormy weather.
Some of the people are very tidy and keep their clothing in a
respectable condition. Others are careless and often present a most
filthy sight. The aged and orphans, unless the latter be adopted by some
well-to-do person, must often be content with the cast-off apparel of
their more fortunate fellow-beings.

The hair of the skins wears off in those places most liable to be in
contact with other objects. The elbows, wrists, and knees often are
without a vestige of hair on the clothing. The skin wears through and
then is patched with any kind of a piece, which often presents a
ludicrous appearance.

The young boys and girls are dressed alike, and the females do not wear
the garments of the adults until they arrive at puberty. It is a
ludicrous sight to witness some of the little ones scarcely able to walk
dressed in heavy deerskin clothing, which makes them appear as thick as
they are tall. They exhibit about the same amount of pride of their new
suits as the civilized boy does. They are now able to go out into the
severest weather, and seem to delight in rolling around in the snow.

Infants at the breast, so small as to be carried in the mother’s hood,
are often dressed in skins of the reindeer fawns. The garment for these
is a kind of “combination,” the trousers and body sewed together and cut
down the back to enable the infant to get them on. A cap of calico or
other cloth and a pair of skin stockings completes the suit.

Both men and women wear, as an additional protection for their feet in
cold weather, a pair or two of short stockings, locally known as
“duffles,” from the name of the material of which they are made. These
“duffles” are cut into the form of a slipper and incase the stockings of
the feet. Over these are worn the moccasins, made of tanned and smoked
deerskin. The Eskimo women are not adepts in making moccasins; a few
only can form a well-fitting pair. They often employ the Indian women to
make them, and, in return, give a pair of sealskin boots, which the
Indian is unable to make, but highly prizes for summer wear in the

  [Illustration: FIG. 29. Eskimo birdskin cap.]

The Koksoagmyut do not wear caps, the hood of the frocks being the only
head covering. There is, however, in my collection a cap obtained from
one of the so-called “Northerners,” who came to Fort Chimo to trade.
This cap (No. 3242, Fig. 29) was evidently copied from some white man’s
cap. The front and crown of the cap are made of guillemot and sea-pigeon
skins, and the sealskin neckpiece also is lined with these skins, so
that when it is turned up the whole cap seems to be made of bird skins.

We may now proceed to the description of the different garments in

The coat worn by the men and boys, and by the girls until they arrive at
womanhood, has the form of a loose shirt, seldom reaching more than 2 or
3 inches below the hips, and often barely covering the hips. The neck
hole is large enough to admit the head into the hood, which may be
thrown back or worn over the head in place of a cap.

The Innuit of the southern shore of the western end of Hudson Strait
often cut the coat open in front as far up as the breast (Figs. 30 and
31, No. 3224). The favorite material for these coats is the skin of the
reindeer, three good-sized skins being required to make a full-sized
coat for a man. Coats made of light summer skins are used as
underclothing in winter and for the only body clothing in summer.
The skin of the harp seal (_Phoca grœnlandica_) is also used for coats,
but only when the supply of reindeerskin runs short, or when a man can
afford to have an extra coat to wear in wet weather. It is not a very
good material for clothing, as the skin is roughly tanned, and no amount
of working will render it more than moderately pliable. Figs. 32 and 33
represent a sealskin coat. These coats are often trimmed round the edges
with fringes of deerskin 2 or 3 inches wide, or little pendants of

  [Illustration: FIG. 30. Eskimo man’s deerskin coat (front).]

The collection contains eleven of these coats, Nos. 3221, 3498-3500,
and 3558 of deerskin, and Nos. 3228, 3533-3537 of sealskin.

The peculiar shape of the woman’s coat is best understood by reference
to the accompanying figures (Figs. 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38). The enormous
hood is used for carrying the infant. When sitting, the female usually
disposes the front flap so that it will lie spread upon the thighs, or
else pushes it between her legs, while the hind flap is either thrown
aside or sat upon.

It is not unusual for the women to display considerable taste in
ornamenting their garments, using the steel-gray pelt of the harp seal
to contrast with the black of the harbor seal, and so on. The edges of
the hood and sleeves are frequently trimmed with skin from a dark
colored young dog; or a strip of polar bear skin, whose long white hairs
shed the rain better than those of any other mammal.

It is not rare to find loops of sinew or of sealskin attached to the
breast or back of a woman’s garments. These are for tying small
articles, such as a needle case or a snuff-bag, to the clothing for
convenience and to prevent loss.

  [Illustration: FIG. 31. Eskimo man’s deerskin coat (back.)]

A peculiar style of ornamentation is shown in Fig. 39 and 40, No. 3005,
a woman’s coat from Fort Chimo. The front of the skirt is fringed with
little lead drops, bean-shaped in the upper row and pear-shaped in the
lower, and pierced so that they can be sewed on. These lead drops are
furnished by the trader at the price of about a cent and a half each, in
trade. The trimming of this frock cost, therefore, about $4. The four
objects dangling from the front of the frock are pewter spoon-bowls.
Across the breast is a fringe of short strings of different colored
beads, red, black, yellow, white, and blue. Jingling ornaments are much

The tin tags from plug tobacco are eagerly sought for, perforated and
attached in pendant strands 3 or 4 inches long to sealskin strips and
thus serve the place of beads. I saw one woman who certainly had not
less than a thousand of these tags jingling as she walked. I have also
seen coins of various countries attached to the arms and dress. One coin
was Brazilian, another Spanish, and several were English. Coins of the
provinces were quite numerous. These were all doubtless obtained from
the sailors who annually visit the place, in exchange for little
trinkets prepared by the men and women.

  [Illustration: FIG. 32. Eskimo man’s sealskin coat (front).]

The collection contains five of these coats, Nos. 3005, 3225-3227 of
deerskin, and 3504 of sealskin. The last is a very elaborate garment,
made of handsomely contrasted pieces of the skin of two kinds of seals,
the harbor seal and the harp seal, arranged in a neat pattern.

It is not common to come across a garment of this kind, as the skins of
the proper or desired kinds are sometimes hard to obtain. The woman may
be several years in getting the right kind and may have effected many
exchanges before being suited with the quality and color. The darkest
skins of the Ka sig yak (harbor seal) are highly prized by both sexes.
The women set the higher value upon them. The men wear two styles of leg
covering, namely, breeches like a white man’s, but not open in front,
and reaching but a short distance below the knees, or trousers ending in
stocking feet. Sometimes in very cold weather these trousers may be worn
under the breeches. Both breeches and trousers are very short-waisted.
Long stockings of short-haired deerskin with the hair in are also worn.
The women in winter wear breeches made of deerskin fastened around the
hips by means of a drawstring and extending down the legs to where the
tops of the boots will cover them a few inches. Some of the women wear
trousers which reach only to the upper part of the thighs and are
continuous with the boot which covers the foot, though in that case a
pair of half-boots are added to protect the feet. The hips are covered
with breeches which descend low enough on the thigh to be covered by the
leggings. This style of apparel for the lower portion of the body is
often extravagantly patched with various colored pieces of white and
dark strips of skin from the abdomen and sides of the reindeer. When new
and not soiled they are quite attractive and often contrast well with
the tastefully ornamented coat.

  [Illustration: FIG. 33.--Eskimo man’s sealskin coat (side).]

The long boots or leggings are removed when dirty work is to be done.
Thus, skins to be scraped and dressed are held against the bare leg.

The leggings also serve as pockets to hold various kinds of little
things, like knives, tobacco, and so on.

A person rarely owns more than a single pair of breeches; consequently I
was unable to obtain any for the collection.

The boots and shoes are of different materials and somewhat different
patterns for different seasons of the year. All have moccasin soles of
stout material turned up an inch or two all round the foot, a tongue
covering the top of the foot, joined to a broad heel band which passes
round behind the ankle. Then the legs are either made long enough to
reach to the knee or else almost to the ankle. These half-boots are worn
over the fur stockings in warm weather, or outside the long boots in
very severe weather. Indian moccasins are also worn, sometimes over a
pair of inside shoes and sometimes as inside shoes.

  [Illustration: FIG. 34. Eskimo woman’s deerskin coat.]

For thick waterproof soles the skin of the beaver or the harp seal is
used. The former wears the better. White whale skin is also used for
indoor shoes, or for shoes to be worn in cold dry weather; the skins of
the smaller seals are used, sometimes with the flesh side out and the
hair in, sometimes with the grain side out. These thinner skins are
comparatively waterproof if the black epidermis is allowed to remain on.
The beautiful creamy-white leather, made by allowing the skin to ferment
until hair and epidermis are scraped off together and then stretching
the skin and exposing it to dry cold air, does not resist water at all,
and can only be used for soles in perfectly dry weather.

  [Illustration: FIG. 35. Eskimo woman’s deerskin coat.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 36. Eskimo women’s deerskin coat.]

Buckskin soles are also used to enable the wearer to walk better with
snowshoes on, as the feet are not so liable to slip or clog with snow as
they would be if the footing were of sealskin. This latter has also
another serious disadvantage. If it is very cold it does not permit the
moisture from the feet to pass out as it freezes, rendering the boot
stiff and slippery on the snowshoe, while the buckskin is porous and
readily allows the moisture to escape.

  [Illustration: FIG. 37. Eskimo women’s deerskin coat (back).]

  [Illustration: FIG. 38.--Eskimo woman’s deerskin coat (side).]

The tongue and heel band are generally made of tanned sealskin,
contrasting colors being often used. The legs are of sealskin, with the
hair on, or of reindeer skin.

The figures represent a pair of sealskin boots with buckskin feet
(Fig. 41) and a pair of half boots with white sealskin soles, black
sealskin tongue and heelstrap, and buckskin tops (Fig. 42). The tanned
and smoked reindeer skin for these tops was purchased from the Nascopie

A peculiar style of shoe (Fig. 43), of which I collected four pairs,
is used by the so-called “Northerners,” who derive most of their
subsistence from the sea in winter, and who constantly have to travel on
the ice, which is often very slippery. To prevent slipping, narrow
strips of sealskin are sewed upon a piece of leather, which makes an
undersole for the shoe, in the manner shown in the figure.

  [Illustration: FIG. 39.--Eskimo woman’s deerskin coat.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 40. Backside of same.]

One end of the strip is first sewed to the subsole and the strip pushed
up into a loop and stitched again, and so on till a piece is made big
enough to cover the sole of the shoe, to which it is sewed. These ice
shoes are worn over the ordinary waterproof boots.

As I have already said, these boots are all made by the women. The sole
is cut out by eye and is broadly elliptical in shape, somewhat pointed
at the toe and heel. The leg is formed of a single piece, so that there
is but one seam; the tongue or piece to cover the instep may or may not
be a separate piece. If it is, the leg seam comes in front; if it forms
one piece with the leg piece, the seam is behind. When the leg is sewed
up and the tongue properly inserted the sole is sewed on. It is tacked
at the heel, toe, and once on opposite sides of the foot, to the upper.
The sewing of the sole to the upper is generally begun at the side of
the seam and continued around. Perpendicular creases at the heel, and
more numerously around the toes, take up the slack of the sole and are
carefully worked in. The making of this part of the shoe is most
difficult, for unless it is well sewed it is liable to admit water.
The creases or “gathers” are stitched through and through with a stout
thread, which holds them in place while the operation proceeds, and
which besides has a tendency to prevent the gathers from breaking down.
The heel, which comes well up the back of the boot, is stiffened by
means of several threads sewed perpendicularly, and as they are drawn
shorter than the skin, they prevent the heel from falling and thus
getting “run down.”

The seams of the boots, which are turned inside out during the
operation, are so arranged on the edges that one will overlap and be
tacked with close stitches over the rest of the seam. This is done not
only for comfort when the boot becomes dry and hard while being worn,
but also to take the strain from the stitches which hold the edges
together. The value of a pair of boots depends much on the care bestowed
in tanning and in sewing.

The hands are protected by mittens of different materials. Fur or hair
mittens are worn only in dry weather, as the hair would retain too much

Among the Innuit the mammals are divided into two classes: the noble and
the inferior beasts. The skins of the former are used, though not
exclusively, by the men, while the latter may be worn only by the women.
No man would debase himself by wearing a particle of the fur of the hare
or of the white fox; the skins of these timid creatures are reserved for
the women alone. Either sex may wear the skins of all other mammals,
except at certain times, under restrictions imposed by superstition.

  [Illustration: FIG. 41. Eskimo boots.]

The women wear mittens of hare or fox skin, with palms of sealskin or
Indian-tanned bird’s skin. Reindeer skin with the hair on is also used
for mittens. The heavy skin from the body is selected for the sake of
warmth. When these mittens are to be used when driving dogs the palm is
made of sealskin, to enable the wearer to get a firm grasp on the whip
handle. The skin of the deer’s forelegs, which has hair of a different
character from that on the body, also makes excellent mittens, specially
suited for handling snow in building the snow huts. Mittens are
sometimes fringed round the wrist with a strip of white bearskin to keep
out the wind.

  [Illustration: FIG. 42. Eskimo shoes.]

All mittens have such short thumbs that they are very inconvenient for a
white man, who habitually holds his thumb spread away from the palm,
whereas the Innuit usually keep the thumb apposed to the palm. The
wrists of the mitten also are so short that considerable of the wrist is
often exposed. The sleeves of the jacket are generally fringed with wolf
or dog skin to protect this exposed portion of the wrist.

  [Illustration: FIG. 43. Ice-shoes, Hudson strait Eskimo.]

Similar mittens of black sealskin are also worn by the men during damp
weather, or when handling objects which would easily soil a pair of
furred mittens. I have never seen a woman wear this kind of covering for
the hand. It appears to be exclusively worn by the men.

The men who engage in the late fall seal hunting protect their hands
with waterproof gauntlets, which reach well up over the forearm. These
keep the hands from being wet by the spray and by the drip from the
paddle. Fig. 44, No. 90074, represents one of these long mittens, made
of black tanned sealskin, and edged with a strip of hairy sealskin over
an inch wide. The back or upper portion of the mitten is made of a
single piece of black skin, the edge of which is crimped and turned
under to protect the fingers. The palm is a separate piece, joined to
the backpiece, and on it is a projecting part to form the inner half of
the thumb. The outer half of the thumb and the under side of the forearm
are made of a single piece, stitched to the palm portion and that which
covers the back of the hand and arm, so that, including the edging of
hairy skin, there are only four pieces of skin entering into the make of
a pair of these mittens. They are worn only by the men, and only when
they are engaged in work where the hands would be immersed in water
during cold weather. As the skin from which they are made is the same as
that used for water-tight boots, it is obvious that no moisture can
touch the skin of the hand.

  [Illustration: FIG. 44. Long waterproof sealskin mitten.]

For protection from rain and wet they wear over their other clothes a
waterproof hooded frock (Fig. 45) made of seal entrails, preferably the
intestines of the bearded seal (_Erignathus barbatus_). The intestines
of animals killed in October are considered the best for this purpose.
They then are not so fat and require less dressing to clean them. The
contents are removed and they are filled with water and thoroughly
washed out. The fat and other fleshy matter adhering are removed by
means of a knife used as a scraper. This being done, the intestine is
inflated with air and strung along the tops of the rocks to dry. When
dry it is carefully flattened and rolled into tight bundles, like a
spool of ribbon, and laid away until wanted.

When required for use it is split longitudinally, and when spread open
is of variable width from 3 to 5 inches, depending on the size of the
animal. The edges of the strips are examined and any uneven portions are
cut off, making the strip of uniform width. There are three separate
pieces in a garment--the body and hood as one and the sleeves as two.
Sometimes the sleeves are made first and sometimes the body is sewed
first, and of this latter portion the hood is first formed. Strips are
sewed edge to edge with the exterior of the intestine to form the
outside of the garment. The edge is turned down, so as to leave a width
of a third of an inch, and turned to the right; the other strip is
similarly folded, but turned to the left and laid on the other strip.
Sinew from the back of a reindeer or from a seal is made into threads a
yard or more in length and of the thickness of medium-sized wrapping
cord. The needle is usually of a number 3 or 4 in size or of less
diameter than the thread in order that the thread shall the more
effectually fill up the hole made by the needle. The two strips are then
sewed with stitches about nine to the inch, through and through, in a
manner, I believe, termed running stitches. When a sufficient length is
obtained a third strip is added, and so on until the required number of
perpendicular strips form a sufficient width to surround the body. The
outer edges are then joined and the body of the garment is complete.
Portions are cut out and the hood assumes the desired shape, resembling
a nightcap attached to the body of a nightgown. The sleeves are sewed in
a similar manner and affixed to the body of the garment. The seams run
perpendicularly and not around the body in a spiral manner as in
garments made by the natives of Alaska for similar purposes. The edge of
the hood, the wrists, and the bottom of the garment are strengthened by
means of thin strips of sealskin sewed on the outside of those parts
where they are most liable to be torn. The garment is worn during wet
weather or while in the kaiak traveling on a rough sea. The bottom of
the garment is tied around the hoop of the kaiak in which the wearer
sits and thus effectually sheds the water from the body, except the
face, and keeps it from entering the kaiak.

  [Illustration: FIG. 45. Waterproof gutfrock.]

Sometimes a drawstring closes the hood tightly around the face and
prevents the spray from entering. The string is usually tied at the top
of the hood, in which case it is rather difficult to untie.

When not in use the material must be well oiled and rolled up or it will
become so stiff that it can not be worn until it has been relaxed by
dipping in water. The sinew with which it is sewed swells when wet and
tightens the seams.

There is great difference in the length of the garments worn by the
eastern and the western Eskimo as well as in the manner of arranging the
strips of which they are made. The one worn by the people of Hudson
strait scarcely reaches to the hips of the wearer and is long enough
only to tie around the hoop of the kaiak. The ones worn by the Eskimo of
Northern sound, Alaska, falls to the knees, and those made by the Aleuts
are so long that they interfere with the feet in walking. The material
prepared by the eastern natives is not so good, as it is coarser and
stiffer than that of the sea lion (_Eumatopias stelleri_), used by the
natives of Alaska.

The weight of one of these garments when dry scarcely exceeds 6 or 7

  [Illustration: FIG. 46. Snow goggles--front.]

To protect the eyes from the glare of the snow, which is especially
trying when the sun is still low in early spring, snow goggles are worn
made to admit the light only through a narrow slit. (Figs. 46, and 47.)
Nos. 3186, 3187, 3188, 3189, 3190, 3191, 3192, 3193, 3197, 3198, 3199,
3200, and 3201 in the collection show such snow goggles made of wood.
A somewhat curved piece of wood is fashioned to fit the face over the
eyes; a notch is fitted for the nose to rest in. The lower side is about
half an inch thick, forming a flat surface. The front is perpendicular
and blackened with soot or gunpowder mixed with oil and applied to
darken the front surface to absorb the light of the sun’s rays. Above
this is a ledge of half an inch projecting over the narrow longitudinal
slit through which the wearer may look. This projection is sometimes not
blackened on the underside, and where wood is scarce it is left off
altogether. Within, on the side next to the eyes, it is usually gouged
out to allow the eyelashes free movement. A piece of sealskin is affixed
at each end and either tied in a knot over the head to hold the wood in
position, or else a wider strip of skin is slit and one portion worn on
the top of the head while the other fits the back of the head to prevent
the goggles from falling off when the wearer stoops down.

  [Illustration: FIG. 47. Snow-goggles--rear.]


The winter dwellings of the Eskimo of Hudson strait consist of the usual
form of snow house. In this connection I may as well state that the
popular impression that the snow house described by Arctic travelers is
the only thing to be called an iglu is quite erroneous. The word “iglu”
is as fully generic in the Eskimo language as the word “house” is in the
English language. The correct term, as applied by the Eskimo, to the
snow house used as a dwelling is “ig lú ge ak” (Fig. 48.)

The first requisite for a snow house is snow. It must be of sufficient
depth and possess certain well-defined qualities. The snow may fall, but
until it has acquired sufficient depth for the size of blocks required
and firmness enough for strength to withstand the superposed weight of
the structure it is useless. An instrument termed snowknife (pŭnŭk),
shaped like a short sword, is used for the purpose of cutting the
blocks. The Eskimo seeks a place where the insertion of the knife into
the bed of snow will prove that the snow is in the proper condition.
He must then cut out a block of a size convenient to be lifted. This is
usually rejected as it may be irregular or broken. Additional blocks, in
size from 8 to 10 inches thick, 2 feet wide, and slightly more in length
are cut by a motion much resembling the act of sawing, cutting the depth
of the blade. The knife then cuts the bottom off squarely and the block
is lifted out, the builder standing where the first blocks were cut
from. The blocks are arranged on the bank of snow around the pit in
which the man stands. The first block usually is somewhat triangular in
shape for a purpose hereafter mentioned. The second block is cut out and
placed near the first, the end clipped with the knife to allow the first
joint to be close together. A third block is cut and placed by the end
of the second. It will now be seen that the line of blocks is not
straight, but curved concavely within. Additional blocks are cut and
placed end to end with each other until the first one laid is reached.
Here a longer block is cut to lay upon the inclined side of the
triangular-shaped block first used and so placed as to “break” the
joints, and thus render the structure more stable. Additional blocks are
placed on the first row, and as the operation proceeds it will be seen
that the blocks lie in a spiral form, gradually drawing in as the
structure rises, forming a dome-shaped wall of snow. The key block at
the top is carefully cut to fit the aperture and inserted from the
outside by the assistance of another person. All the joints are
carefully stopped up with spawls of snow or with snow crushed between
the hands and forced within the crevices.

  [Illustration: FIG. 48. Deserted Eskimo snow houses,
  near Fort Chimo.]

The floor of the snow house is the bed of snow from which the building
material was taken. The door is cut by taking blocks of snow from under
the bottom row of the foundation blocks. A trench is made, and along the
side of it the blocks are placed. An arched covering of the material
forms a sheltered passageway to the door.

When the snow house is to be occupied for a considerable time the
doorway may have walls of snow blocks piled as high as the shoulders,
with the top left open. This shields the entrance from wind and drifting
snow. Various forms of entrance are constructed, often very tortuous;
and when made a refuge by the numerous dogs they are not pleasant paths
along which to creep on hands and knees, for a panic may seize some
cowardly canine and all the dogs struggle to get suddenly out into the
open air. Vicious animals often wait until a white man gets about half
way through the entry and then make a sudden assault on him.

The interior of the house is arranged according to the number of persons
inhabiting it.

A raised bed, on which to sit during the day and sleep during the night,
is formed either by leaving a part of the snow-bank or else by bringing
in blocks and arranging them as a solid mass. On this are spread bows of
spruce, or dry grass, if obtainable, otherwise fine twigs of willow or
alder, and over these heavy reindeer or bear skins are thrown. On these
bed-skins are laid other softer skins of reindeer, with which to cover
the person on retiring to sleep. A window is sometimes set in the side
of the structure toward the sun. This is simply a piece of thick, clear
ice, from a lake, set in the wall of the dome. It admits light, although
it is generally light enough during the day within the snow-house unless
the walls be built particularly thick, but great thickness in certain
situations becomes necessary lest the winds and drifting snow wear away
the sides of the structure, causing it to admit the cold or tumble down.
Around the outside of the hut is sometimes built a protecting wall of
snow blocks, two or three feet high, to prevent the drifting snow from
wearing away the side of the dwelling. A storm of a single night’s
duration is often sufficient to destroy a house.

The interior walls, in severe weather, become coated with frost films
from the breath, etc., condensing and crystallizing on the inside of the
dome and often presenting by the lamplight a brilliant show of myriads
of reflecting surfaces scintillating with greater luster than skillfully
set gems.

If the roof is not carefully shaped it is liable to cave in from the
heat within softening the snow, especially in moderate weather, and then
the entire structure falls.

Where the owner of the house has considerable possessions which must be
protected from the dogs and the weather, a similar structure is prepared
alongside of the dwelling and often connected with it by means of a
communicating passage-way. An exterior opening may be made and closed
with a block of snow. The larger articles, such as bags of oil and
bundles of skins, are put inside before the walls are up, if intended to
be stored for some time.

As I have slept in these snow-houses I can assert that, while very
uncomfortable, they afford a protection which can not be dispensed with.
When the doorway is open they soon become very cold, and when closed
upon several persons the heat becomes intolerable. Odors from the food
remain long after the remnants are disposed of, and where one has been
occupied for a long period the accumulation of refuse becomes so great
that a new structure is indispensable in order to get rid of it. All the
work of the different members of the family is performed within the
walls. The skins of animals are dressed and tanned there. The offal of
game and the hair from dressed skins mingle in one mass, which soon
putrefies and creates such a stench that only an Eskimo with most obtuse
sense of smell could inhabit the place.

When spring comes the huts begin to melt and in the course of a few warm
days fall down. If the weather is too inclement to permit a skin tent to
be occupied, the first hole in the wall may be patched with a deerskin,
but this will afford very limited protection from the cold of nights,
for, however warm the days, the nights will, until late in May, be so
cold that only the older individuals withstand the cold.

When the structure falls, melted by sun or rain, the miserable occupants
must erect temporary shelter of deerskin or cloth on the bare rocky
ridges. Those too poor to own a skin tent have often but a blanket of
deerskin, stretched over three or four poles, set to shelter them from
the chilly northerly winds usually prevailing at that season.

Here they must sojourn until the ice breaks from the shores of the coves
and bays, enabling the hunters to procure seals from the sea. Along the
shores one may often find camping sites of these poor wanderers
searching through the day for food and at night camping under the lee of
a wall of rock with little other covering than that worn during the day
and this often soaked with spray or rain.

Improvidence and indolence result in the most cruel privations toward
the end of winter. Many who are too weak and emaciated from lack of food
to pursue the chase to gain a living starve before reaching the sea and
are left to perish.

When the season is more advanced, and the weather warm enough, those who
are industrious and provident enough to be the possessors of sealskin
tents, move into them for the season.

The skin tent (Pl. XXXVII) is usually made of the skins of the largest
square flipper seals, those too heavy for any other purpose or not
necessary for other uses.



The number of skins necessary to form a tent varies with the size
required. Generally as many as ten to fifteen are used, and such a tent
will accommodate a good sized family.

The hair is seldom removed from the skin, which is simply stretched as
it comes from the animal and freed from fat and fleshy particles. The
edges are trimmed and a sufficient number of skins are sewed together to
form a length for one side of the tent. The length of the individual
skins makes the height of the tent. A similar width is prepared for the
opposite side. The two pieces meet at the rear of the structure and are
there tied to the poles. A separate piece forms the door and may be
thrown one side when a person enters or goes out. The poles of the tent
are arranged as follows: Two pairs of poles are joined near the ends
with stout thongs and erected with the lower ends spread to the proper
width, forming the ends of the tent, on which the ridgepole is laid.
A single pole is now placed near each end of the ridgepole, resting on
the upright pairs, to prevent lateral motion. Two more such braces are
placed on each side and spread so as to give a somewhat rounded end to
the tent. Near the middle of the ridgepole is a pair of shorter poles
leaning against it to prevent the weight of the sides from bending the
ridgepole. It will be seen that eleven poles are necessary to support a
long tent, as the skins are very heavy. The skins and poles can be
transported when the umiak is able to carry them.

In case of continued rains the skins are placed so as nearly to meet
over the ridge and additional skins cover the space left between the
edges. When the tent is to be taken down the two widths are folded over,
each by itself, and then rolled into a compact bundle by beginning at
each end and folding toward the center, leaving sufficient space between
the rolls for a person to get his head and shoulders in. Two persons,
one for each roll, now assist the carrier, who kneels, bows his head,
and places the load on his head and shoulders. The two assist him to
rise and the heavy load is taken to the umiak and placed in the bottom
for ballast. The shorter poles are first laid in on the ribs of the boat
to keep the skins from the water should any seep through the seams.
The second bundle of tenting is laid on the first.

The tent of skins is the usual shelter during the season from the first
rain until a sufficient fall of snow occurs in the early winter from
which to construct an iglu gheak.

The interior of the skin tent is necessarily quite roomy on account of
the number of occupants. The farther end often has a stick of timber
laid across the floor, and behind this is the bedding for the owner, his
wives, and children. A man who is able to own a tent of this character
is also wealthy enough to have two or more wives. Along the remainder of
the sides within lie the other occupants, either in groups or singly,
depending on the degree of relationship existing between them. Guests
and others temporarily abiding with the host are assigned any portion of
the tent that the host may choose to select, usually, if great honor is
to be shown, the place lately occupied by himself. The central portion
is reserved for a fireplace for cooking and heating purposes. In this
structure is carried on all manner of work incidental to the season. The
tent is taken from place to place by means of the umiak when the food
supply of a locality is exhausted or another region promises greater

All these summer occupations require a number of persons to successfully
prosecute them, hence the number dwelling in one tent is not often
detrimental, as the adults walk along the shore to drag the boat or
relieve it from their weight.

The owner of a tent is considered an important individual, and his favor
is retained by every means. A period of illness may cause him to lose
all his belongings and then on recovery he has to start life anew.
Several seasons may elapse before a sufficient number of skins will be
procured for him to make a tent, and this is immovable without a boat to
transport it, for when a sled might be used for that purpose there is
always enough snow from which to erect a shelter.

During the winter the skins are stored away on posts erected for the
purpose, or on piles of rocks where the various species of small animals
will not destroy them by eating holes in the oily skin. Mice and ermines
are very destructive to these skins, often causing sad havoc in a short
time. By the spring the owner may be miles away from the scene of the
previous autumnal hunt and be unable to go after the tent, which, with
the summer rain and decay, becomes useless, imposing the severe task of
collecting skins for a second tent.

In former times these people inhabited permanent winter houses like
those used by the Eskimo elsewhere, as is shown by the ruins of sod and
stone houses to be seen in various parts of the country. These appear to
have had walls of stone built up to support the roof timbers, with the
interstices filled up with turf or earth. From the depression remaining
in the inside of these ruins, the floor seems to have been excavated to
a greater or less depth.

The present inhabitants relate that their ancestors dwelt in these huts,
but can not explain why they were deserted, or why such structures are
not erected at the present day.


There is very little in these dwellings that can be called furniture,
besides the bed places already referred to. The other articles requisite
for housekeeping consist of a lamp of soapstone, kettles to hang over
it, a frame suspended above the lamp for drying various articles, and
sundry wooden bowls, buckets, and cups, besides similar vessels made of

  [Illustration: FIG. 49. Soapstone lamp, Koksoagmyut.]

The lamp (poqíla), which is the only source of heat and light in the
snow house, is, roughly speaking, a large shallow bowl of soapstone
filled with oil, which is burned by means of a wick of moss, arranged
round one edge of the bowl.

  [Illustration: FIG. 50. Soapstone lamp, Koksoagmyut.]

The material from which these lamps are made occurs in isolated bowlders
on the surface of the ground at various places in the region. These
bowlders are often of great size.

  [Illustration: FIG. 51. Soapstone lamp, Koksoagmyut.]

The general form of these lamps, which will be best understood from the
figures (Figs. 49, 50, 51), is nearly always the same, the variations
being apparently due to the lack of material. The cavity for holding the
oil varies in capacity, according to the size of the lamp, from half a
pint to nearly three quarts. It is, however, never filled to the brim,
for fear it should run over. The consumption of oil depends upon the
number of wicks lighted at once, and also on the character of the wick.

  [Illustration: FIG. 52. Frame for drying mittens.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 53. Soapstone kettle.]

The wick in general use is prepared from a kind of moss, which grows in
large patches close to the ground, the stalks rising perpendicularly,
and the whole so matted together that it may be cut into any desired
form. From these patches pieces are cut an inch or two wide, a third of
an inch thick and two or three inches in length, and laid away to dry.
When one of these is to be used the woman squeezes the fibers together
with her teeth, trims it, and sets it in the oil, and lights it. The
light from one of these wicks is nearly equal to that of an inch wick
fed with a good quality of kerosene. The heat is very great. For
cooking, a larger wick is used, or two of the smaller ones set side by
side. Over the lamp is placed a frame for drying wet boots, mittens,
and such things. Fig. 52 represents one of these (No. 3048), which is a
semicircle or bow of wood with the ends fastened to a straight piece of
wood. Across these strands of sinew or sealskin forms a sort of netting
having large meshes. On this rests the article to be dried. Under this
is a support formed of two sharp-pointed pegs which are stuck into the
snow forming the side of the hut. On the outer end of these is fastened,
or laid across them, a piece of wood. The shape of the support is that
of a long staple with square corners. In some instances the pegs form
only a wide V-shape, and the frame for supporting the articles laid
directly on this. A block of wood hollowed out to receive the convex
bottom of the lamp is sometimes used to support the latter.

  [Illustration: FIG. 54. Soapstone kettle.]

In former times cooking over these lamps was universally performed in
kettles of soapstone, in which cooking was also done by putting heated
stones into the water. These soapstone kettles are, however, quite
superseded by utensils of civilized manufacture. I, however, succeeded
in collecting two full-sized stone kettles, and one little one, made for
a child’s toy. The figures (Figs. 53, 54) show the shape of these
vessels sufficiently well. The handles are made of strips of whalebone.
The larger kettle (No. 3179) is nearly 13 inches long, and will hold
nearly a gallon. They were made of different capacities in former times,
varying from about a pint to a full gallon.

  [Illustration: FIG. 55. Wooden dish.]

Oblong shallow dishes (pu-ghu´-tak) for holding oil or food are carved
from larch knots. The figure (Fig. 55) represents a model of one of
these. Buckets and cups of various sizes for holding water and other
fluids are made of tanned seal skin sewed with sinew. The sides of the
bucket are a strip of seal skin bent into a ring, with a round piece of
seal skin sewed on for a bottom. Sometimes a seal-skin bail is added, or
a wooden handle sewed to the lips of the cup, making it into a dipper
(Figs. 56, 57.) Wooden baskets are made in a similar fashion. A strip of
spruce wood is bent nearly circular. The ends of the strip are fastened
with fine iron wire. The bottom is a separate piece and has a rim or
edge for the upper part to set on, and is held in place by means of
small wooden pegs driven through and into the bottom.

  [Illustration: FIG. 56. Sealskin bucket.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 57. Sealskin cup.]

The capacity of these vessels is seldom more than a couple of quarts,
and generally less. They are principally used to ladle water into the
cooking kettles. All these vessels of native manufacture are being
rapidly displaced by tin cups and small kettles.


Under certain conditions a great portion of their food is eaten raw,
but it is invariably cooked when it conveniently can be. Frozen food is
consumed in great quantities. I have seen them strip and devour the
back, fat, and flesh from the body of a deer while the fibers were yet
quivering. The entrails of many species of birds are taken from the body
and, while yet warm, swallowed much after the manner of swallowing an
oyster. The eggs which have been incubated to an advanced degree are as
eagerly devoured as those quite fresh.

The deer meat, killed the previous fall and frozen for three or four
months, is cut into huge chunks and gnawed with as much satisfaction as
though it was the finest pastry. On such occasions I have seen the
person appointed to chop up the frozen meat scatter the pieces among the
expectant crowd with as little ceremony as that of throwing ears of corn
to the hogs in a pen. For a change the frozen pieces of meat are
sometimes warmed or thawed before the fire.

The blood of the deer is often mixed with the half-digested mass of food
in the stomach of the animal, and the stomach, with its contents, with
the addition of the blood, eaten raw or boiled. Sometimes it is laid
aside to ferment and then frozen and eaten in this condition.

Strips of fat from a seal and the blood of the animal are put into a
kettle and heated. The oily liquid is eaten with the greatest relish.
Seal oil is used for food in about the same manner as we use syrups.
Years of almost daily intercourse with these people have failed to show
the ability of any person to drink seal or whale oil without illness
resulting. They never drink pure oil under any circumstances, except as
a laxative. The statement often made that these people drink oil as food
is simply preposterous. Such statements doubtless arose from seeing
other preparations of food having an abundance of oil upon them. Lean
flesh is often dipped into oil and then eaten. If partaken of without
oil in as great quantities as these people require, a torpid condition
of the liver and alimentary canal results, and they thus employ the pure
oil to relieve themselves.

Vegetable food is little used except in the vicinity of the trading
stations. Those accustomed to the use of flour, bread, peas, beans, and
rice are very fond of them, and often express regret that they will be
deprived of them when on their hunting expeditions.

Native plants afford little help as food. During the season when the
various berries are ripe all the people gorge themselves. They have a
special fondness for the akpik (_Rubus chœmomorus_). The sun scarcely
reddens the side of these berries, locally known as “bake apple,” before
the children scour the tracts where they grow, and eat of the
half-ripened fruit with as much relish as the civilized boy does the
fruit purloined from a neighbor’s orchard. Other berries contribute
their share as food.

When on trips the women often gather a few green herbs and put them in a
kettle of water and make an infusion in lieu of tea. They are fond of
tea, coffee, and sugar. Molasses is eaten alone or with something dipped
in it.

The Eskimo drink often and astonishing quantities of water at a time.
If the weather be very cold they often drink the water which has been
heated on a fire, asserting that the hot water does not weaken them as
much as cold water would do.

When a seal has been killed and is being brought to camp, the hunter
signifies his success from a distance, and those in camp raise a joyous
shout. The animal is drawn ashore and skinned. The flesh is devoured raw
as the process goes on, or may be divided, certain portions being given
the different persons. The blood is collected, and when the meat is
boiled it is mixed with the hot liquid and forms a nutritious dish,
eagerly devoured by both adults and young. The children revel in this
dish to a sacrifice of cleanliness.

The feast is continued until the flesh has been devoured and the people
gorged to their utmost capacity. Stories are told and general good humor
prevails. The different species of fish which frequent the shallow
waters of the bays are used as food.


All the adults are addicted to the use of tobacco, both for smoking and
chewing and in the form of snuff, although it is not everyone that uses
tobacco in all three ways.

The plug tobacco, used for smoking and chewing, is carried in a small
pouch of seal skin attached to the belt, which keeps it from being
dampened by perspiration or rain. Watches are also carried in the same
receptacle. Fig. 58 (No. 74485) is such a bag, made of hairy seal skin.
The edges alone are trimmed with lighter colored strips of seal skin.
A string holds the mouth of the bag together after it is rolled up.
A loop at one corner enables the bearer to affix it to his belt when
traveling to avoid the necessity of opening the bag in which he usually
carries such small things.

Leaf tobacco is preferred for the preparation of snuff, but as this is
not always to be had plug is often used. This is shredded up and dried,
and when dry enough is reduced to a powder by inclosing a quantity in a
fold of seal skin and pounding it with a stone or stick.

  [Illustration: FIG. 58. Tobacco pouch.]

Snuff is kept in a purse-shaped bag, closed at the mouth with a thong.
To it is attached a little spoon made of ivory. Various forms of this
implement are made. The general appearance is that of a common spoon,
of which the ends and sides of the bowl are cut off. At the end of the
handle is a slight depression for containing the snuff, which is held
firmly against the orifice of the nostril and inhaled by a sudden
indrawing of the breath while the thumb of the other hand closes the
opposite nostril.

The old women appear more addicted to the use of snuff than any of the
men. The effect of inhaling the strong snuff is quickly shown in the
face. It seems to affect people more than the use of tobacco in any
other way.



The principal means of conveyance by water with the Eskimo of Hudson
strait, is the umiak, referred to by most writers as the woman’s boat.
This appellation is not more applicable than would be the term family
boat. The women use the boat alone only on rare occasions, and then in
quiet water and for short distances. Men are nearly always in it, and
under the guidance of one of these, the boat is used for long journeys.

The form of the umiak, in the region under consideration, differs
greatly from that of the Eskimo of Bering sea. (See Fig. 59, from a

The size of the boat is variable according to the means of the builder
and the size of the family to be conveyed in it. The length of the keel
is from 10 to 25 feet. Over all the length is 1 or 2 feet greater than
on the keel. It will be thus seen that the ends are nearly
perpendicular. It is difficult to determine at the first glance which is
the bow and which the stern, so nearly alike are they. They only differ
in the former being somewhat wider at the upper edge or rail.

  [Illustration: FIG. 59. Eskimo umiak.]

The keel is a straight piece of wood hewed from a single stick, nearly 4
inches square. The stem and stern posts are nearly alike, the latter
having but little slope, and are cut from curved or crooked stems of
trees. A tree may be found, which, when hewed, will form the sternpost
and keel in one length. Otherwise the fore and aft posts have places cut
out for the insertion of the respective ends of the keel, and are
fastened firmly by stout thongs of sealskin thrust through holes bored
in the wood and ingeniously lashed. As the bottom of the umiak is flat
the sides of the bottom are formed of square rails of sufficient length
and given the desired spread. They are held at the ends by being joined
to the keel. Crosspieces notched at the ends separate the bottom rails
and are steadied in position by being notched so as to sit on the square
keel. On the ends of the crosspieces is laid a second rail which
prevents them from rising and serves to strengthen the ends of the ribs,
which are set alternately with the crosspieces of the keel. The ribs are
attached to the lower or bottom rail by means of sealskin lashing. Along
the upper ends of the ribs is placed a longer rail of smaller diameter
and usually shaved round. This rail is usually set half its diameter
into rounded notches of the upper ends of the ribs and fastened by
thongs. Within and below the top rail is a shorter rail, generally
smaller than the upper, tied by thongs to the ribs and posts fore and
aft. A wide board projecting several inches on each side of the stern
serves as a seat for the steersman. The ends of the top rails are laid
over this board and attached to it. A similar board is placed at the
forward end or bow, but is, of course, longer as that end is the wider
of the two.

Three to five thwarts, serving as seats for the occupants, are placed at
proper intervals, having their ends resting on the inside top rail. One
of these thwarts also serves to steady the mast, which is stepped into
the keel and lashed to the thwart.

On the side of the boat and resting on the top rail are pieces of wood
firmly lashed. A notch, or rowlock, is cut into them to serve as rests
for the heavy oars. The oars are held into the notch by means of loops
of stout thong, the ends of the loops passing each other, one from
forward and the other from aft, and through both of the loop ends the
inner end of the oar is thrust. The loops serve to hold the oar when not
in use, otherwise it would float away; yet the position of them allows
the oars to lie alongside in the water. The oars are heavy and as much
as 10 feet long for a large umiak. The women generally run the boat and
are assisted by the younger men of the party who may not be walking
along the shore. Two or more females sit side by side and if they be
insufficient a third person faces them and assists in the labor. It is a
favorite place for a young man with his sweetheart. The steersman sits
on the after board and attends to the helm and sail when the latter is
in use. The sail is a nearly square sheet of cloth spread by a yard
across the top. The lower corners have each a rope which the helmsman
holds. A fair wind only can be used to advantage as the oomiak, from its
flat bottom, is unable to go to windward. With a breeze nearly aft they
can be made to sail at a good speed.

The covering of the umiak is made of skins of the largest seals. The
skins are freed from hair and all adhering flesh and fat, and stretched
to their utmost tension.

They are then cut into the proper shape and sewed together. The edge of
one skin overlaps that of the other and the lap is then tacked over the
shorter edge and attached to the other skin so as to form two seams at
each junction.

Those portions which are to cover the bottom are sewed with special
care, as the seams are liable to be strained in shoving the boat over
the oars when it is taken from the water at each camp. When skins are
sewed side to side in sufficient number to fit the length of the frame
they are lifted around it and temporarily placed in position. The
superfluous portions are cut out or additional pieces put in until it
fits properly on the frame. Holes, 3 or 4 inches apart, are cut in the
edges of the skin and stout thongs are passed through these and over the
top rail to the inner rail. All the strength of the individual is now
applied to draw the skin over the top rail. Being wet it readily
stretches, and when the entire covering is drawn sufficiently tight the
lashing around the rail is permanently fastened. The boat is then turned
keel up to dry. If the skin has been properly cut and stretched it
sounds like a drum when struck.

When in use the greatest care must be exercised to prevent contact with
rocks, but in shallow water it frequently happens that a hole is cut in
the skin of the boat, when the rent must be patched with a piece of
skin. During the winter months the umiak is placed on staging of posts
to protect it from the ravages of mice and other animals.

Journeys of considerable length are undertaken in these boats. A large
family, or two or more families, may remove to a distance to try their
fortunes. They always stop at night and during bad weather, and the
journey is accomplished by easy stages. All the portable possessions of
the family are taken in these boats, which are often loaded to such a
degree that the older people have to walk along the shores and only go
into the umiak to relieve some one who desires to walk. Where the beach
is good a tracking line is attached to the bow and those on shore drag
the boat along. The dogs which accompany the party are sometimes
harnessed and made to pull. The tracking line is called into requisition
whenever a trip is made up a river to the hunting grounds for reindeer.

The kaiak or skin canoe used by the Eskimo of Hudson strait belongs to
the Greenland type. It is quite different from that used by the natives
of Alaska. These boats vary from 18 to 26 feet in length; the greatest
width, one-third of the distance aft the hole where the rower sits,
being one-seventh to one-ninth of the entire length of the kaiak. The
ends are sharp, the prow much more acute than the stern. The bottom is
quite flat and the frame for the keel and sides at the bottom is
arranged similarly to that of the umiak. The prow is simply an extension
of the keel and slopes above the water to a height nearly double that of
the stern. The slope of the stern is gradual and short. The side timbers
at the bottom have the upper surface gouged so as to allow the lower
ends of the nearly perpendicular ribs to rest in the groove. The ribs
extend across the bottom, resting on the side timber and keel. Their
upper ends are inserted in the upper rail, which extends the entire
length of the kaiak. The upper rails are held apart by crosspieces of
different lengths, according to position. On the top of these upper
crosspieces is laid a piece which extends to the nose of the kaiak.
A similar, but shorter one, is laid from the hole where the rower sits
to the stern of the kaiak. The hole for his body is placed between a
pair of crossbars where the equilibrium will be best maintained. The
hoop of wood which outlines the hole is variable in shape, but resembles
half of a short ellipse, the posterior of which is slightly curved to
fit the back of the rower. Just forward of the seat the upper surface of
the canoe is somewhat elevated by the curvature of the crossbars, and it
thus enables the rower to have greater freedom for his limbs than he
otherwise would. This particular part, the elevation just forward of
him, alone resembles any portion of the kaiaks used by the Alaskan
Eskimo, and of these, only the sub-tribes in the vicinity of Bering
strait [and thence to Point Barrow.--J. M.] have that part of the kaiak
so fashioned. With that exception the top of the Hudson strait kaiak is
flat on the top. Just forward of the hatch, two or three stout thongs
are sewed to the outer edge of each side of the boat and extend across
the top. A similar thong is placed behind. Under these thongs are placed
the paddle, also the spears, and other hunting gear. Small game is
sometimes tied to these.

The outfit, consisting of spears and their appurtenances, properly
belongs with the kaiak. Of these implements, there are different kinds,
depending on the game and the season of the year. As the kaiak is used
only during the seasons of open water it is laid aside during the

I remember an instance occurring opposite Fort Chimo. A kaiak had been
left until the ice in the river was firm enough to enable the vessel to
be brought over on it to the station. One day a woman declared that she
could see a wolf tearing the skin from the frame. It was scarcely
credited, but in the course of half an hour the wolf started across
towards the post. It was met and showed some disposition to attack, but
was shot. I watched to see where the men went to look at the kaiak, and
when they reached the place I was astounded that the woman could discern
even the kaiak at such a distance.

The spear used for white whales and large seals consists of a wooden
shaft of 6 or 8 feet in length, having a projection on the side, made of
ivory and shaped like the fin of a fish. This fin-shaped piece rests
against the forefinger, while the remainder of the hand grasps the
shaft. The lower end of the shaft terminates in a piece of bone or ivory
of 1 to 1⅓ inches in diameter. (Fig. 67.) A socket is made in the end
of the bone portion, and the wooden shaft is nicely fitted into it and
fastened either by thongs or rivets. At the farther end of the bone head
is a thimble-shaped hole gouged out, and into this a short piece of
straight bone or ivory is fitted, having the ends so shaped that they
will work smoothly into the hole at the end of the bone head of the
spear. The farther end of this bone shaft is so shaped that it will work
into the bone or ivory portion of the piece into which the spear point
is fastened. The point is shown in the accompanying figure (Fig. 68) and
is not much varied in general shape. There are two joints between the
spear point and the bone shaft head. This enables the spear-point to
become easily detached when the game is pierced. If this were not so,
the bone or ivory would soon break with the violent motions of the
animal, and the implement would be rendered useless until repaired.
Thongs connect the various parts together, also connecting them with the
main shaft of the spear. A long line, usually left lying in a coil just
in front of the hunter, gives ample scope for play until the animal is
exhausted. If the sea is rough or the hunter unable to cope with the
quarry, the float, to be described below, is thrown over and the seal or
whale allowed to take its course, the hunter following and endeavoring
to harass the animal as much as possible, giving it a stab with the hand
spear whenever occasion offers.

In addition to the whale or seal spear, the hand spear, float, and
paddle, the kaiaker may have a wooden shaft, on the end of which are
three prongs of barbed iron, each prong 8 to 10 inches long, and set in
the form of a divergent trident. With this implement, small seals and
the white-coated young are killed. Birds, too, are sometimes speared
with this trident.

The hand board, or implement with which certain spears are hurled, is a
piece of wood of such shape that a description will give but little idea
of its form. It is about 14 inches long, flat, and has a groove on one
side into which the rear end of the spear shaft rests, and is supported
by the three fingers of the hand while the index finger fits into a hole
cut through the board, of the shape to accommodate that digit. The tip
of the finger rests against the shaft of the spear. Other notches are
cut along the side of the board to enable the three fingers to lie in
position to give a firm grasp on the end or handle of the board. The
thumb turns over so as to lie directly on the spear, to steady it, while
the other fingers give the spear the necessary straight motion when the
arm is drawn back and raised nearly perpendicularly. When it reaches
that position the motion is arrested and the fingers release the
implement held along the groove. The hand board or thrower is retained
and the spear recovered if the object has not been struck. If the aim
was good the spear remains attached to the struggling animal, and the
hand board is quickly placed under one of the thongs stretched across
the top of the kaiak. The paddle is held in the left hand and ready for
instant use.

The paddle is quite heavy and of variable length, having long, narrow
blades, which are alternately dipped into the water. The use of the
paddle requires some practice before one becomes accustomed to it. When
in use the paddle rests on the edge of the hoop, forming the rim of the
hatch, and moves along it in the motion of propulsion.

As the paddle dips into the water the dripping often causes the clothing
to become wet. To obviate this, these people use a piece of plaited rope
or skin to slip nearly to the beginning of the blade. This causes the
dripping to fall outside of the kaiak; and in cold weather is very
necessary, unless heavy mittens of tanned sealskin be worn.

An implement used for hooking into the body of a sunken seal or whale is
made in the following manner: A piece of wood is prepared about 8 feet
long and three-fourths of an inch thick, having a width of an inch and a
half. The lower end of this has a strong hook made of stout iron set
into it. Along the inner edge of the wooden shaft two or three notches
are cut. The end near the person has a V-shaped notch cut into it. This
is used for all the purposes of a boat hook, and also to retrieve a
sunken animal. A weight is attached to near the hook end to keep the
shaft perpendicular in the water. A line of sufficient length is
attached to it. The hunter has marked the locality, and with the hook
“feels” the bottom for the game. When found the hook is jerked into the
skin and the object brought to the surface. The staff is very necessary
while the kaiak is being moved through narrow channels among the ice
fields. It is, in fact, available in many instances where the paddle
would, from its length, be useless. The kaiak outfit would be incomplete
without the hook.

A young man starts out in life with a gun and ammunition with which to
procure game. If he has the energy to become a successful hunter he will
soon be able to make a kaiak, and thus procure the marine mammals whose
skins will afford a covering for an umiak and in the course of time
additional skins for a tent. These possessions usually come in the order
laid down, and when they are all procured he is generally able to have
others under his direction assist in transporting them from place to
place; and thus he becomes the head of a gens or family, including his
brothers and sisters with their husbands, wives, and children. These
usually move in a body wherever the head may dictate, and all their
possessions accompany them on the journey. Brothers often live together
and own the tent and umiak, the remainder of the household affairs being
considered as individual property and not to be used by all without

Some of the men are too improvident to prepare these skins when they
have the opportunity, and thus they are unable to own a kaiak, which
prevents them from providing themselves with the umiak and tent. These
persons must live with others or dwell by themselves and pass a
miserable existence, scarcely noticed by their fellows even during a
season of abundance.

The collection contains one full-sized kaiak, with all its fittings, and
their models, including a toy kaiak cut from a walrus tusk. The model is
just 9 inches long and quite perfect in form. The double-bladed paddle
accompanying is made from the same material, and is six inches long.


The universal means of transportation on land is the sled, drawn by
dogs. The number of dogs used to draw a sled varies according to the
distance to be traveled, the character of the country, the condition of
the animals, and the weight of the load to be drawn. From one to twenty
dogs may be used. The common team for general purposes is seven or nine

The method of constructing sleds differs slightly in different parts of
the region, and then only where the material may be difficult to obtain
or a heavy sled may not be needed. A tree of a suitable size is
selected, generally larch, because of its greater strength, although
somewhat heavier than the spruce.

It is necessary, for greater strength, that each runner be of a single
piece of timber. The length of the runner is from 12 to 16 feet; the
height varies from 10 to 12 inches. The piece must be as nearly free
from knots and crossgrain as possible, for these defects render the wood
very brittle during cold weather. The runners are roughly hewn at the
place where originally cut, and, when needed, they are brought to the
temporary camping place of the Eskimo, and there dressed with plane and
saw to the required form. The bottom of the runner is usually 2½ to 3
inches thick, gradually becoming thinner by one-half an inch to an inch
toward the top. This enables the sled to make a wider track at the
bottom and encounter less friction of the runner sides against the snow
crust. The curve at the forward end is long and very gradual. There may
be as much as 3 feet of the curved part, which rises above the level of
the lower edge of the runner. This enables the sled to creep easily over
any obstruction. The runners are now placed parallel, separated by a
distance of 14 to 16 inches, and on these are fastened crossbars 3
inches wide, of sufficient length to allow about an inch to project over
the outer edge of each runner. Near the ends of these slats is cut a
notch on each edge. Sometimes a hole is also bored through the slat
between the notches. These are for the purpose of fastening the slats to
the runners. A sufficient number having been prepared, and placed 1 or 2
inches apart, they are now laid on the flat top of the runner. Holes are
bored through the top of the runner to correspond with the holes and
notches of the slats. Through these and over the slats a stout piece of
heavy sealskin line is threaded, and so on through and over the slats
and runner until it is firmly fastened. The line must be well soaked in
water to render it flexible and allow it to stretch, otherwise the
joints where it was tied would soon work loose. The line shrinks while
drying, and draws as tight as though made of the best iron. No metal is
used, for the reason that it would snap as easily as chalk during cold
weather. The use of the thongs in binding the slats to the runners
allows freedom to the motion of the sled when passing over inequalities
of surface, where a rigidity of the sled would soon cause it to break.
The bottom of the runner is shod with iron brought by the traders for
that purpose. It is simply extra-wide hoop-iron and of a width to fit.
It is fastened on with screws, the heads of which are countersunk.

Another kind of shoe is put on when traveling in very cold weather.
A swampy track is searched for soil of half-decomposed vegetation and
pure humus, as nearly free from sand and gravel as possible. It must
possess certain qualities or it may not have the requisite
strength--much, I presume, as mortar often requires to be tempered with
more or less lime or sand when it is too rich or too poor. The Eskimo
tempers his mortar with the almost impalpable soil found under the
larger spreading trees of the forest. It is the slowly decomposed
vegetation fallen from branches and trunks. The manner of preparing it
is as follows: A large kettle is partially filled with the material and
heated to the boiling point, being constantly stirred, and while yet
cool enough all coarse sticks, grass blades, pebbles, etc., are
carefully removed as the fingers discover them in working the mortar.
The sled is turned over with the bottom of the runner up. The mud is now
applied by the hands, a couple of pounds being taken and pressed on the
runner, which has previously been wetted. This process of adding to the
runner is continued until it attains an additional depth of 3 or 4
inches and a width of 3 to 5 inches. It now resembles the rail of a
stairway. When it has been thoroughly gone over to fill up any
inequalities the sled is set aside in order that the mud may freeze
solid. The sled must be handled with care, as the least jar or jolt will
break the “setting” mud. After it is frozen the owner takes a plane and
planes it down to the proper shape and smoothness. It is somewhat
difficult to describe the shape in words, unless it be compared to the
upper part of the =T= rail of a railroad inverted--neither rounded nor
flat, but so fashioned as to give the best bearing surface with the
least friction. When the plane has finished its work the color of the
mud is a rich chestnut brown. The builder now takes water in his mouth
and spirts it in a spray along the mud. As soon as the water touches the
runner it must be spread evenly with a hand incased in a mitten of
reindeer skin, rubbing back and forth until the runner looks like a bar
of black glass. The sled is then ready for use. Great care is necessary
to avoid rocks or stones, as these cut the polished mud and roughen it.
If a sudden lurch causes a portion of the mud to drop out the piece is
frozen on again by means of water, or if crumbled a piece of ice is cut
to the shape and caused to adhere by water freezing it to the runner.

It is not often that one may find a sled shod with bone, as is the
custom with the Eskimo farther north, and especially farther west. The
only instance where I have seen bone used was by some of the people from
the western extremity of Hudson strait. These had only a portion of the
curve and a part of the runner shod with bone and pieces of reindeer
horn, secured to the runner by means of pegs.

The greatest objection to the use of mud is that a few hours of warmth
may cause it to loosen and render it worthless. The polish suffers when
traveling over rough ice, and especially where sand has drifted from
some exposed bank to the surface of the snow. This causes very hard
pulling, and soon roughens the running surface of the sled. To repair
such damage the native stops, at a convenient place, to obtain water,
which is spirted on the runner and rubbed evenly until it acquires a
thickness of one-eighth of an inch. This coating of ice may last for the
entire day of travel where the “roads” are good.

The harness for the dogs consists of two large nooses, placed one above
the other. These are joined by two perpendicular straps of 4 or 5 inches
in length at a sufficient distance from the end to allow the head of the
dog to pass through so that one noose will lie along the back and the
other between the forelegs. At the rear ends of the nooses is a long
thong of the heaviest sealskin of variable length depending on the
position or place the dog is to have in the team. The body harness is
made of sealskin, with or without the hair on, stout canvas, or other
material which may be convenient. Thin undressed sealskin makes the best
harness, and is not so liable to chafe the neck of the animal. The trace
attached to each dog is generally of stout sealskin thong cut
three-eighths of an inch wide, and the corners are carefully pared until
the trace in form resembles a hoop for a small keg. The trace varies
from 10 to 30 feet in length, and is attached to a longer but much
stouter thong of heavier sealskin or walrus hide prepared in the form
described for the trace. The thong to which all of the traces of
variable lengths are fastened is termed the “bridle.” The bridle has,
usually, apiece of ivory, called “toggle,” at the end farthest from the
sled. A few inches back of the toggle is a short piece of stout thong
plaited in the bridle end. This thong has a slit cut in the farther end.
It is passed through slits cut in the end of each trace and then looped
on the toggle. It will now be understood that the traces all start from
one place, but their different lengths give different positions to the
dogs of the team so that they may move freely among rough pieces of ice
without interfering with each other. This has some advantages, but it
necessitates watching the traces as they are liable to catch around any
projection above the surface.

The bridles are also of varying lengths, from 15 to 40 feet. The rear
end has two stout thongs plaited into it, forming a loop for each thong.
These are known as the “yoke,” and are looped over toggles, one on each
inner side of the runner.

Any load to be carried on the sled is usually placed so as not to
project much over the side, for in deep snow, with a crust too weak to
support the weight, it would simply act as a drag and seriously impede
travel if not entirely stop it. The load must also be distributed to the
best advantage along the sled so as not to have too great a weight at
either the front or rear, although generally a heavier portion is placed
behind to allow the sled to steer or follow. The runners are so low that
the sled seldom upsets unless the ice is very rough, in which case it
often requires two men to attend to it, another to free the traces from
obstructions, and a fourth to lead or drive the dogs. A smaller number
render traveling under such conditions very tedious.

The driver is always armed with a whip (Fig. 60). There appear to be as
many kinds of whips as there are individuals using them. Each whip
characterizes, in a manner, the person who makes it. A great amount of
ingenuity is expended in preparing the lash, which is simply
indescribable. The handle of the whip is from 9 to 11 inches in length
and shaped somewhat like the handle of a sword without the guard.
A stout loop of thong is affixed to the stock above where the hand
grasps it. This loop is thrown over the wrist to prevent the weight of
the whip drawing the stock from the hand and also to retain the whip
when it is allowed to trail behind.

  [Illustration: FIG. 60. Dog whip. {¼}]

At the farther end of the stock a portion of the wood is cut out to
allow the insertion of the end of the lash which is fastened by means of
finer thongs. The butt end of the lash is five-sixteenths of an inch
thick and nearly 2 inches wide. It is composed of eight heavy thongs
plaited in a peculiar manner, depending on the number of thongs used and
the fancy of the maker. The thongs are plaited by inserting the end of
each thong through a succession of slits cut at the proper distance and
so matted together that it is difficult to determine the “run” of the
thong. The size decreases from the handle by dropping out a strand until
at 18 inches from the stock only four thongs are left, and these form a
square plait for a foot in length. This square form is succeeded by only
two thongs which make a flat plait of 2 feet in length. At the end of
this a simple piece of heavy thong completes the lash. The length of a
whip may be as much as 35 feet, weighing 3 or 4 pounds. Some of the
natives acquire a surprising dexterity with this formidable weapon,
often being able to snip the ear of a particular dog at a distance of
the length of the whip. I have known them to snap the head from a
ptarmigan, sitting along the path of the team. Children practice with
the whip as soon as they can manage it.

The Eskimo dog fears nothing but the whiplash. They attack each other
with savage ferocity, and several dogs may be engaged in terrific
battles, yet the swish of a whip or even a stick thrown hurtling through
the air is sufficient to cause them to slink off in abject terror,
whining piteously in fear of the expected lash.

The weight or load put upon a sled may be as much as 1,200 pounds. The
character of the road alone determines the weight, number of dogs, and
rate of travel. The latter may average over a smooth surface 5 miles
hourly for twelve hours continuously, excluding the few minutes given
the dogs to “blow” (rest), etc. I knew an instance where three men with
empty sled and seven dogs traveled 94 miles in eighteen hours. I have
gone 19 miles in three hours; and again I have known only 3 or 4 miles
to be made in ten hours, through rough ice or deep, newly fallen snow.

The disposition and condition of the dogs chiefly determines the number
attached to the sled. With these animals there is the same difference as
is to be found in horses or other beasts of draft. Some are energetic
and well-behaved; others as stubborn or lazy as is possible. Strange
dogs in the team are liable to be pitched upon by all the others and
with the long traces ensues such an entanglement of lines, dogs, and
flying snow as is difficult to conceive. The good qualities of the
driver are manifested by his ability in keeping the dogs in order and
showing promptness in separating them when quarreling. Fighting among
the dogs can always be prevented by the driver keeping the dogs in
proper position.


These people are now provided with firearms, which have entirely
superseded the bow and arrow.

The bow formerly used in this region appears to have been similar to the
one obtained from a party of East Main Innuit, who made their way to
Fort Chimo. This bow has accordingly been figured and described (Figs.
61 and 62--90137).

  [Illustration: FIG. 61.--Bow. East Main Eskimo (back).]

  [Illustration: FIG. 62.--Bow. East Main Eskimo (side).]

It is made of larch wood and has a backing of eight double strands of
twisted sinew. This sinew is in one piece sixteen times the length of
the bow. One end is looped and passed over one “nock” of the bow and
carried back and forth from nock to nock eight times. This backing has
two turns of twist put in from the middle to increase its elasticity,
and is lashed to the middle of the bow with a stout thong of reindeer
skin. The bowstring is of twisted sinew with a loop at each end.

With this bow were seven arrows. Three of these are for shooting
reindeer and wolves. They have an iron point set in a short foreshaft of
reindeer antler, and a wooden shaft about 16 inches long (Fig. 63).
Three more are pointed with large nails, one of which has been beaten to
a chisel-shaped point (Figs. 64 and 65). They are intended for large
game at short range, or for small game, such as hares and ptarmigan.
These six arrows are feathered with the tail feathers of the raven.
The last arrow is a simple shaft, without feathering or head, and is
intended for small game, such as a wood hare crouching under a spruce
tree, or the little red squirrel on the top of a low tree.

In drawing the bow, the Innuit invariably hold the arrow between the
middle two fingers of the right hand, and the string is drawn with all
four fingers, and released by straightening them.

The bow and arrows are carried in bow case and quiver fastened together
and slung on the back. Fig. 66 represents a model (No. 3257) of such a
bow case. The bow case is made of buckskin and is of sufficient length
to contain the bow, excepting the extreme end, which is left projecting
for convenience in handling. The case is tied around the bow at the
projecting end. The quiver is attached to the bow case and contains two
models of arrows for shooting large game. The arrows are tipped with
leaf-shaped pieces of tin. They are feathered with portions of feathers
apparently taken from the tail of a raven. The mouth of the quiver is
also drawn up with a string to prevent the loss of arrows. I have not
seen the Eskimo of Hudson strait use such a cover for their bows and
arrows, but the opportunities to observe them are very limited, as few
are used. I am led to conclude that only the poorer individuals of
either locality have the bow and arrow at the present day.

  [Illustration: FIGS. 63, 64, and 65.--Arrows. East Main Eskimo.]

I have already described the large harpoon used for striking white
whales and large seals from the kaiak. A short-head spear (Fig 67, No.
90164) is used for dispatching wounded seals or white whales, or for
killing white whales when they have been driven into a shallow arm of
the sea when the tide ebbs and leaves them partly uncovered. It has a
short wooden shaft with a ferrule of ivory, holding a short ivory loose
shaft, kept in place by thongs, on which is mounted a toggle head like
that used on the big harpoon. The line is either attached to the kaiak
or to a small float made of the inflated intestine or skin of a seal.
The toggle heads for these spears are made of ivory, and fitted with
iron blades (Fig. 68). I have already referred to the large sealskin
float in describing the kaiak.

Fig. 69 (No. 3531) is such a large sealskin float or á va tuk. The skin
is removed from the body by skinning around the gums and carefully
taking out all the flesh and bones through this orifice. As the
operation proceeds the skin is turned back and at the completion of the
work is inside out. The flesh side, now the exterior, is carefully
scraped to free it from all fleshy matter. The hind flippers are cut off
at the ankle and the skin either sewed or stoutly wrapped with thong.
The fore flippers are usually left attached to the skin after the flesh
has been scraped from them. The skin is now inflated with air and hung
up to dry. In a few hours it is turned with the hairy side out and again
inflated for awhile. The mouth and all other openings in the skin are
carefully sewed up. A large button of ivory, shaped much like a pulley,
nearly 2 inches in diameter, is put where the mouth of the skin is and a
portion of the skin carefully wrapped around it, thongs of sealskin
tightening the moist skin in the groove of the mouthpiece. This piece
has a hole about one-third of an inch in diameter bored through it. The
hind flippers and tail have a stick of 2 or 3 inches in length placed
within the skin and are then firmly bound around the stick, which serves
to stop up any hole and also to furnish a handle by which to drag or
hold the float. The hole in the mouth-piece is plugged with a stopper of
wood. When the float is wanted for use the skin is inflated. When
inflated the float has a diameter about two-thirds the length. If it is
to be attached to a tracking line the float is fastened by the stick,
which is secured within the skin of the hind flippers and dragged
backwards. The function of the float in this instance is to prevent the
tracking line from becoming “fouled” among the rocks and stones of the
beach along which the line runs in towing a boat (or umiak). In a
similar manner it is affixed to the harpoon line used for large marine
mammals, such as the white whale and the larger species of seals. This
float not only retards the flight of the speared animal, but it serves
to mark the spot where it sinks, for at certain seasons the seals sink
as soon as they die. A speared animal always sinks more quickly than one
shot dead with a ball, probably because its struggles are more prolonged
in the first instance and exhaustion of breath is more complete.

  [Illustration: FIG. 66. Bow case. East Main Eskimo.]

The hair of the animal whose skin is intended for a float is sometimes
scraped off before the skin is removed from the body, otherwise it may
be left until the skin is partly dry and then be shaved off. The manner
of loosening the hair is similar to that used by butchers of hogs, only
that the boiling water is poured on and a small patch of hair pulled off
at a time, instead of submerging the entire animal. The hair from the
green skin must be carefully pulled out or else the black scurf adhering
will be detached and thus render the skin less nearly waterproof.

The skins or bags used for holding oil and fat are prepared in a similar
manner, excepting that the hair is left on the skin and the hairy side
left within. The oil and fat are put in the skin at the posterior end
and it is then tied up like a float. The largest sealskins are used for
oilbags, and may contain as much as 300 pounds of fat or oil.

When a sack of oil is sold the bag is usually returned to the seller,
who again fills it with oil or converts the skin into bootlegs or soles.
The leather having become thoroughly impregnated with the oil makes the
best for wear, often resisting moisture for three or four days of
continuous wet.

Before leaving the subject of weapons and their accessories, I may
mention No. 3069, a small pouch made of thick sealskin. The shape is
somewhat like that of a leg of mutton. This is used for carrying gun
caps. The neck is only large enough to permit one cap to fall out at a

  [Illustration: FIG. 67.--Hand spear for killing seals from kaiak;


I have already referred briefly to the various methods of taking seals,
white whales, and other game, while describing the boats, spears, and
other apparatus used in their pursuit.

The most important hunt of the year, however, comes in the autumn, when
the reindeer are migrating in large herds and crossing the rivers.
The deer are wanted now for their flesh for food and their skins for
clothing. Everything necessary for the chase is taken in the umiak, or,
perhaps, a whaleboat, to a locality convenient to where the animals
cross over. Here the tent is pitched, and a camp is made. The hunters
scour the neighboring land for herds of reindeer, which are seen running
about under the impulse to seek the opposite sex. As they arrive from
different directions, those of one sex must cross the river. Since the
females furnish the lighter skins for clothing, and the males the
greater amount of meat and a heavier skin for various purposes, deer of
both sexes are equally useful.

A band of three or four, or as many as a hundred, may be sighted slowly
winding their way through the openings of the timbered areas on the
opposite side of the river. The native with telescope, or binocular in
focus, observes their movements until they pause a moment on the bank
and then plunge quickly into the water, where they keep well together
until the opposite shore is reached. Here, if undisturbed, they will
stand to allow the water to drip from their bodies, and then will walk
slowly along to a convenient place to climb the bank and penetrate the
strip of woods or bushes and emerge into the open country beyond. As
soon as the native sees the deer everything is put in readiness on the
kaiak, and with quick strokes of the double-bladed paddle he is behind
and below the now terrified animals. They rear and plunge in frantic
confusion, endeavoring to escape their most dreaded foe. The hunter
calmly drives the herd through the water as the shepherd does his flock
on land. Those disposed to break away are rounded up and driven back.
The greatest care must be exercised not to let the animals get below the
kaiak, or they will swim faster with the stream than the hunter can
paddle. As there are, generally, two or more kaiaks, it is an easy
matter for the men to drive the animals wherever they desire. When the
camp is above, the deer are driven diagonally across so as to make them
come out near the camp. If the site is below, the animals are allowed to
drop down to a convenient place. These maneuvers depend on the wind,
as the sense of smell of the deer is very acute at this season, and the
scent of the camp, if detected, would throw the animals into such terror
that the greater number would escape.

  [Illustration: FIG. 68.--Togglehead for hand spear.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 69.--Sealskin float.]

When near the place the hunter takes his deer spear, which is exactly
like the one used by the Indians, and quietly stabs the animal in a
vital spot, endeavoring so to wound the beast that it will have only
enough strength to enable it to attain the shallow water or shore,
and not to wander off. Among the hundreds of times I have had the
opportunity to witness this, I never knew a deer wounded with the spear
to turn back to swim in the direction from which it came. They appear to
dread the water, and strive most frantically to regain the land where,
if mortally wounded, they stand; the limbs gradually diverging to
sustain their trembling body; the eyes gazing piteously at the foe, who
often mocks their dying struggles, or pitches a stone at their quivering
legs to make them fall. A convulsive struggle as the blood fills the
internal cavity, a sudden pitch, and the life is gone without sigh or
groan. As many of the herd as can be speared are quickly dispatched and
the entire number secured if possible. It is supposed that the ones
which return to the shore whence they came give the alarm and frighten
other arrivals away from the starting point. The hunters strive to
prevent their return, and will often allow two, near the camp, to escape
in order to pursue the retreating animal.

Those which have been killed and are lying in the water are dragged on
land and skinned. The pelt is taken off as that of a beef is when
skinned by a butcher. The ears and the skin of the head are left on.
The body is opened and the viscera are removed. The intestines are freed
from the fat; the stomach is cleansed of the greater portion of its
contents, and the blood which collected within the cavity is scooped up
with the hands and ladled into that receptacle; and both are reserved
for food. The heart and liver are taken to the camp, where they help to
form a variety in the animal food of these people. Other portions of the
flesh are also consumed. The sinew, which lies along the lumbar region
just below the superficial muscles, is exposed by a cut, and with the
point of a knife or tip of the finger loosened from its adherent flesh.
One end, usually the forward end, is detached and a stout thong tied to
it, and it is jerked from its attachment by a vigorous pull. It requires
a strong person to remove this tendon from the body of a lean animal.
A stroke of the knife frees the wide layer of sinew from blood and
particles of flesh. This is now laid aside for awhile, then washed to
free it from the blood, which would stain it dark in color and also tend
to diminish the strength of the fibers by rotting them. It is now spread
out and allowed to dry. The body is cut across the small of the back and
laid aside. The head is severed from the neck and discarded if there be
no portion of the horns which is needed to serve some purpose, such as a
handle for a knife or other tool. If the head be that of a young deer it
is often taken to the camp and put into a pot and boiled in the
condition in which it comes from the field. When cooked for a long time
it becomes very soft; the muscles of the jaw being reduced to a
semigelatinous condition, which makes an excellent article of food.

The tongue is invariably taken out entire, and is considered the
greatest delicacy, either frozen, raw or cooked, or dried and smoked.
In fact a tongue from the reindeer is good at any time or condition.

The hindquarters are seldom separated, but are placed within the
thoracic cavity, and either cached near the scene of slaughter or placed
on the kaiak and taken to a spot where others are deposited from which
supplies may be taken when the food for the winter is required.

Here and there along the bank will be placed the body of a single deer,
sometimes two or three, which have been killed too far from the present
camp for the hunter to bring them home. These spots are marked or
remembered by some visible surrounding, lest the deep snows of winter
obscure the locality, and often the place can not be found when wanted.
The cache in which the flesh is deposited is simply a few stones or
bowlders laid on the ground and the meat put upon them. A rude sort of
wall is made by piling stones upon the meat until it is hidden from the
ravages of ravens, gulls, foxes, wolves and the detested wolverine.

As soon as the hunter considers that the deer of that particular
locality have ceased to cross, he will repair to another station and go
through the same process. The deer which are first slain, when the
hunting season arrives, and the weather is still so warm that the flies
and decomposition ruin the meat, are reserved for supplies of dog food.


I have already, in the earlier pages of this paper, referred to various
tools and implements.

In addition to these, the Koksoagmyut have comparatively few tools.

In former ages stone and ivory were fashioned into crude implements for
the purposes which are now better and more quickly served by instruments
of iron or steel.

These people have now been so long in more or less direct contact with
traders who have supplied them with these necessaries that it is rare to
find one of the knives used in former times. Certain operations,
however, are even to this day better performed with a knife made of
ivory. The ice from the kaiak bottom or the sides of the boat may best
be removed by means of an ivory knife, resembling a snow knife but
shorter. The steel knife is always kept sharp and if so used would, on
the unyielding, frozen skin-covering of those vessels, quickly cut a
hole. The Eskimo living remote from the trading stations use a snow
knife made from the tusk of a walrus or the main stem of the reindeer

That steel or iron is deemed an improvement on the former materials from
which cutting instruments were made is shown by the crude means now
employed. If the person has not a knife an unused spearhead, having an
iron point, is often employed instead for skinning animals and dressing
the skins.

Stone heads for weapons of all kinds have been discarded. Ivory spears
are at times used but these only when the hunter is close to the prey.

Some of the men have acquired considerable skill in fashioning iron into
the required shape. They eagerly stand around anyone who may be at work,
and evince the greatest curiosity in anything new.

The collection contains two of the snow knives referred to above. No.
3067 is a large snow knife, made from the lower portion of the main stem
of the horn of the male reindeer. It is simply half of the split horn
with the middle scooped out. The length is 12 inches. This form of
instrument is used more especially to smooth down the inequalities of
the blocks of snow after being placed in position. No. 3140 (Fig. 70) is
a large snow knife made of walrus ivory. It is 13 inches long and nearly
2 inches wide for the greater part of the blade, which terminates in a
rounded point. The instrument has two edges, and in general appearances
resembles a double-edged Roman sword. The handle is cut to fit to the

  [Illustration: FIG. 70.--Ivory snow knife, Koksoagmyut.]

Among other peculiar implements collected is one represented in Fig. 71
(No. 3555), which is a “back-scratcher.” This instrument consists of a
shaft made from a limb of a larch tree. It is 17 inches long and about
three-fourths of an inch through, flattened to less than half an inch
and tapering toward the end to be held in the hand. On the lower end is
a dish-shaped piece of reindeer horn, two and one-eighth inches long and
seven-eighths of an inch wide. Through the center of the piece of horn
an oblong hole has been cut for the insertion of the shaft or handle.
The edges of the horn piece are sharp as can be made. This piece is
one-third of an inch thick, and having the sharp edge up is convenient
for thrusting down the back to scratch one’s self in places where the
hand could not reach on account of thick deerskin clothing. The Eskimo
name of the instrument is ku-mé-u-tîk, or that which removes lice.

  [Illustration: FIG. 71.--Back-scratcher, Koksoagmyut.]

The steel needles obtained from the traders are kept in a little ivory
receptacle of various shapes, two of which are shown in Figs. 72 and 73.

This is hollow and filled with any sphagnum moss. One end is permanently
closed by a wooden or ivory plug, held in by little pegs. The plug in
the other end is easily taken out. The needle case is usually pierced to
receive a loop by which it may be hung to the belt or the workbag.

  [Illustration: FIG. 72.--Ivory needle case. Koksoagmyut.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 73.--Ivory needle case. Koksoagmyut.]

Needles are also kept in a kind of small cushion (Fig. 74) made of
sealskin, elaborately ornamented with beads and stuffed with sphagnum
moss. The cushion is perforated around the edge to receive the needles,
which would not easily go through the tough skin.

  [Illustration: FIG. 74.--Sealskin needle cushion, with thimble.

Accompanying one of these needle cushions in the collection is one of
the old-fashioned thimbles such as are still used, although metal
thimbles are preferred. It is simply a strip of sealskin sewed into a
ring large enough to fit the forefinger, and is usually attached to the
needle cushion by a thong with an ivory toggle on the end, to prevent
the thimble from slipping off.

Small articles used in sewing, such as scraps of skin, needle cases,
sinew thread, thimbles, etc., are carried in small bags of deerskin,
which are often elaborately ornamented with beads of various colors,
like the specimen in the collection, No. 3047.


Notwithstanding the fact that these people have had their lot cast upon
the frozen shores of the sea, they appear happy and contented and loath
to leave the land of their birth. Although it is a constant struggle
amidst the terrible storms of a region where for eight months in the
year the soil is frozen and the few warm days of summer bring forth a
scanty vegetation, yet so strong is their love for these inhospitable
shores that the absent pine for a return and soon lose their hold on
life if they are not able to do so.

During the intervals between the hunts and when food is still plentiful,
the Eskimo, divert themselves with games of various kinds of their own.
They are also quick to adopt other games which require outdoor exercise.

Football calls out everybody, from the aged and bent mother of a
numerous family to the toddling youngster scarcely able to do more than
waddle under the burden of his heavy deerskin clothes. Wrestling among
the men is indulged in for hours at a time. The opponents remove all
their superfluous garments, seize each other around the waist and lock
hands behind each other’s backs. The feet are spread widely apart and
each endeavors to draw, by the strength of the arms alone, the back of
his opponent into a curve and thus bring him off his feet. Then with a
lift he is quickly thrown flat on his back. The fall must be such that
the head touches the ground. Where the contestants are nearly matched
the struggle may continue so long that one of them gives up from
exhaustion. The feet are never used for tripping. Such a procedure would
soon cause the witnesses to stop the struggle.

The Eskimo and Indians often engage in comparative tests of their
strength in wrestling. The Eskimo prove the better men in these
engagements. Throwing stones at a mark is a sport for the younger men,
some of whom acquire surprising dexterity.

If a pack of playing-cards can be obtained they engage in games which
they have learned from the white people and teach each other. Small
stakes are laid on the result of the game. The women appear to exhibit a
greater passion for gambling than the men do. They will wager the last
article of clothing on their persons till the loser appears in a nude
condition before spectators. Then the winner will usually return at
least a part of the clothing, with an injunction to play more and lose

The young girls often play the game of taking an object and secreting it
within the closed hand. Another is called upon to guess the contents.
She makes inquiries as to the size, color, etc., of the object. From the
answers she gradually guesses what the thing is.

A favorite game, something like cup and ball, is played with the
following implements: A piece of ivory is shaped into the form of an
elongate cone and has two deep notches or steps cut from one side
(Fig. 75). In the one next the base are bored a number of small holes
and one or two holes in the upper step. The apex has a single hole. On
the opposite side of the base two holes are made obliquely, that they
will meet, and through them is threaded a short piece of thong. To the
other end of the thong is attached a peg of ivory, about 4 inches long.
The game is that the person holding the plaything shall, by a dextrous
swing of the ball, catch it upon the ivory peg held in the hand. The
person engages to catch it a certain number of times in succession, and
on failure to do so allows the opponent to try her skill. The skull of a
hare is often substituted for the ivory “ball,” and a few perforations
are made in the walls of the skull to receive the peg. It requires a
great amount of practice to catch the ball, as the string is so short
that one must be quick to thrust the peg in before it describes the part
of a small circle.

  [Illustration: FIG. 75.--Cup and ball. Koksoagmyut.]

The children sometimes use a stick or other sharp-pointed instrument to
make a series of straight lines in the newly fallen snow and at the same
time repeat certain gibberish. This was at first very confusing to me,
but a woman repeated the words and I guessed from her description where
the idea sprang from.

These people had heard of the teachings of the Labrador missionaries
(Moravians), all of whom are Germans, and as the Eskimo of that coast
use the German numerals in preference to their own, the natives of that
region have at some time repeated the names of those numerals to certain
of the Hudson strait people and they have taught each other.

The names of the German numerals as sounded by the Koksoagmyut are as
follows. The numbers are one to fifteen, consecutively:

Ái i; chu vái i; ta lái i; pi û´ la; pi li pi; tsék si; tsé pa; ák ta;
nái na; tsé na; ái lu pûk; chu vái lu puk; ta lak si na; pi ûk´ si na,
and pi lip´ si na.

I have already referred to the game of football as played by these

  [Illustration: FIG. 76.--Football and driver. Koksoagmyut.]

Fig. 76 represents the football (No. 3070) and the whip for driving it.
The Eskimo are very fond of this game. All the people of every age, from
the toddling infant to the aged female with bended back, love to urge
the aí uk toúk, as the ball is termed. The size of the ball varies from
3 to 7 inches in diameter. They have not yet arrived at perfection in
making a spherical form for the ball, but it is often an apple shape. It
is made by taking a piece of buckskin, or sealskin, and cutting it into
a circular form, then gathering the edges and stuffing the cavity with
dry moss or feathers. A circular piece of skin is then inserted to fill
the space which is left by the incomplete gatherings. This ball is very
light and is driven either by a blow from the foot or else by a whip of
peculiar construction. This whip consists of a handle of wood 8 to 12
inches in length. To prevent it from slipping out of the hand when the
blow is struck, a stout thong of sealskin is made into the form of a
long loop which is passed over the hand and tightens around the wrist.
To the farther end of the whip handle are attached a number of stout
thongs of heavy sealskin. These thongs have their ends tied around the
handle and thus form a number of loops of 12 to 20 inches in length.
These are then tied together at the bottom in order to give them greater
weight when the ball is struck by them. A lusty Eskimo will often send
the ball over a hundred yards through the air with such force as to
knock a person down.

  [Illustration: FIG. 77.--Dominoes. Hudson Strait Eskimo.]

At Fort Chimo the game is played during the late winter afternoons when
the temperature is 30° or 40° below zero. It is exciting and vigorous
play where a large crowd joins in the game.

Sometimes the ball is in the form of two irregular hemispheres joined
together, making a sphere which can be rolled only in a certain
direction. It is very awkward and produces much confusion by its erratic
course. Nos. 3461, 3287, and 3460 are footballs of the pattern first

The Innuit who come from the western end of Hudson strait, the so-called
“Northerners,” have a game which they play with sets of pieces of ivory
cut into irregular shapes, and marked on one face with spots arranged in
different patterns (Fig. 77). The number of pieces in a set varies from
60 to 148. The name of the set is Á ma zu´ a lát, and somewhat resembles
our game of dominoes.

The game is played in the following manner: Two or more persons,
according to the number of pieces in the set, sit down and pile the
pieces before them. One of the players mixes the pieces together in
plain view of the others. When this is done he calls them to take the
pieces. Each person endeavors to obtain a half or third of the number if
there be two or three players. The one who mixed up the pieces lays down
a piece and calls his opponent to match it with a piece having a similar
design. If this can not be done by any of the players the first has to
match it and the game continues until one of the persons has exhausted
all of the pieces taken by him. The pieces are designed in pairs, having
names such as Ka miú tik (sled), Kaiak (canoe), Kalé sak (navel), Á ma
zut (many), a taú sïk (1), Má kok (2), Pïng a sut (3), Si tá mût (4),
and Tá li mat (5). Each of the names above must be matched with a piece
of similar kind, although the other end of the piece may be of a
different design. A Kamutik may be matched with an Amazut if the latter
has not a line or bar cut across it; if it has the bar it must be
matched with an Amazut.

  [Illustration: FIG. 78.--Eskimo doll, man.]

This game is known to the people of the Ungava district, but those only
who have learned it from the Northerners are able to play it. The
northern Eskimo stake the last article they possess on the issue of the
game. Their wives are disposed of temporarily, and often are totally
relinquished to the victor. I have heard that the wives so disposed of
often sit down and win themselves back to their former owners.

  [Illustration: FIG. 79.--Eskimo doll, woman.]

The little girls play with dolls like civilized children, and build
little snow huts, where they have all their playthings and play at
keeping house. The collection contains eleven dolls, most of them
elaborately and accurately dressed, as shown by the illustrations (Figs.
78, 79, 80, 81) and large quantities of doll clothing.

The only musical instrument which I observed among these people was a
violin of their own manufacture, made, of course, in imitation of those
they had seen used by the whites. Its form is sufficiently well shown by
the figure (Fig. 82), and is made of birch, or spruce, and the two
strings are of coarse, loosely twisted sinew. The bow has a strip of
whalebone in place of horsehair, and is resined with spruce gum. This
fiddle is held across the lap when played.

  [Illustration: FIG. 80.--Eskimo doll, woman.]

The old woman of whom I procured the instrument was able to play several
airs--such as they sing among themselves. I was surprised at the
facility with which she made the various notes on such a crude imitation
of a violin.


  [Illustration: FIG. 81.--Eskimo doll, woman.]

Art is but slightly developed among these people. Their weapons and
other implements are never adorned with carvings of animals and other
natural objects or with conventional patterns, as is the case in so
great a degree among the Eskimo of Alaska. They are, however, not devoid
of artistic skill, as is shown by the good taste often exhibited in the
trimming of their garments, and also by the dolls, which I have already
referred to and figured.

  [Illustration: FIG. 82.--Eskimo violin.]

The collection also contains several small ivory carvings, which possess
considerable artistic merit. Among these, the small objects, (Fig. 83),
collected from the so-called Northerners, represent various waterfowl
cut from pieces of walrus ivory. The various species thus carved are
loons, ducks, geese, sea pigeons, and murres. One represents a female
eider with two young mounted upon her back. It is readily discerned, in
most instances, what position and action of the bird was intended to be
represented. The last shows in the plainest possible manner that the
loon is just starting to swim from an object which has given it alarm.

  [Illustration: FIG. 83.--Birds carved in ivory.]

These carvings are fashioned from the tusks of the walrus or the teeth
of various large mammals, and are simply tests of the skill of the
worker, who prepares them as toys for the children. Notwithstanding the
assertions of others, who claim to have knowledge of it, I must state
that on no occasion have I seen or heard, while among these people, of
these objects being used in any game.

  [Illustration: FIG. 84.--Human figure, carved in ivory.]

In addition to these we have a very artistic figure of a polar bear,
and two human figures, 1¾ inches long (Fig. 84), representing tattooed
women, and two carvings representing bags of oil.


Like all other Eskimo, the Koksoagmyut are exceedingly fond of
story-telling. Sitting in the hut, engaged in their evening work, the
old men tell what they have seen and heard. The old women relate the
history of the people of former days, depending entirely on memory,
often interspersed with recitations apparently foreign to the thread of
the legend. The younger members sit with staring eyes and countenances
which show their wondering interest in the narration. Far into the night
the droning tone of her voice continues reciting the events of the past
until one by one the listeners drowsily drop to sleep in the position
they last assumed.

I was fortunately able to collect a number of these ancient legendary
stories, some of them of considerable length.

_Origin of the Innuit._--A man was created from nothing. It was summer
and he journeyed until he found a woman in another land. The two became
man and wife, and from them sprang all the people dwelling there. [It is
extremely difficult to get the native to go beyond the immediate
vicinity in which he lives while relating these stories and legends.
They invariably maintain that it was “here” that the event took place.]

_The Coming of the White People._--The Eskimo were on the verge of
starvation and had eaten nearly all their food. They saw that in a few
more days death would come. The greatest Tungaksoak or great Tung ak
determined to bring relief and prophesied that people having light hair
and white skins would come in an immense úmiak. He placed a young puppy
on a chip and another on an old sealskin boot, and set them adrift on
the water. The puppies drifted in different directions, and in the
course of time the one on the chip returned and brought with it the
Indians. A long time after that, when the people had nearly forgotten
the other puppy, a strange white object like an iceberg came directly
toward the shore. In a few moments the puppy, now a man, announced that
the people had come with many curious things in their vessel. The man
immediately became a dog.

_Origin of living things on the earth and in the water._--A long time
ago a man who was cutting down a tree observed that the chips continued
in motion as they fell from the blows. Those that fell into the water
became the inhabitants of the water. Those that fell on the land became
the various animals and in time were made the food of mankind. (This was
the version given me by a person living at Fort Chimo.) Another person
from farther west gave the following account of the origin of the living
things of the earth: Previous to a time when water covered the earth the
people lived on such food as they could always find prepared for them in
abundance. They did not know of any animals at that time on the land or
in the water. The water finally went away and the seaweeds became trees,
shrubs, bushes, and grass. The long seaweeds were the trees and the
smaller kinds became the bushes and grass. The grass, however, was in
some manner put in various places by a walrus at a later date than the
appearance of the trees.

A woman who had lost her husband lived among strangers. As they desired
to change the place of their habitation, they resolved to journey to
another point of land at a distance. The woman who was depending on
charity had become a burden of which they wished to rid themselves. So
they put all their belongings into the umiak and when they were on the
way they seized the woman and cast her overboard. She struggled to
regain the side of the boat, and when she seized it, the others cut off
her fingers which fell into the water and changed to seals, walrus,
whales, and white bears. The woman in her despair, screamed her
determination to have revenge for the cruelty perpetrated upon her. The
thumb became a walrus, the first finger a seal, and the middle finger a
white bear. When the former two animals see a man they try to escape
lest they be served as the woman was.

The white bear lives both on the land and in the sea, but when he
perceives a man revengeful feelings fill him, and he determines to
destroy the person who he thinks mutilated the woman from whose finger
he sprang.

_Origin of the guillemots._--While some children were playing on the
level top of a high cliff overhanging the sea, the older children
watched the younger ones lest they should fall down the bluff. Below
them the sea was covered with ice, and the strip along the shore had not
yet loosened to permit the seals to approach. Soon afterward a wide
crack opened and the water was filled with seals, but the children did
not observe them. The wind was cold, and the children romped in high
glee, encouraging each other to greater exertion in their sports and
shouted at the top of their voices. The men saw the seals and hastened
to the shore to put their kaiaks into the water to pursue them. At this
the children increased their shouts, which frightened the seals till
they dived out of sight. One of the men was angry, and exclaimed to the
others, “I wish the cliff would topple over and bury those noisy
children for scaring the seals.” In a moment the cliff tipped over and
the poor children fell among the fragments of huge rocks and stones at
the bottom. Here they were changed into guillemots or sea-pigeons, with
red feet, and even to this day they thus dwell among the débris at the
foot of cliffs next to the water of the sea.

_Origin of the raven._--The raven was a man, who, while other people
were collecting their household property preparatory to removing to
another locality, called to them that they had forgotten to bring the
lower blanket of deerskin used for a bed. This skin in the Eskimo
language is called kak. The man used the word so often that they told
him to get it himself. He hurried so much that he was changed into a
raven, and now uses that sound for his note. Even to this day when the
camp is being removed the raven flies over and shouts “Kak! kak!” or,
in other words, “Do not forget the blanket.”

_Origin of the quadrangular spots on the loon’s back._--A man had two
children that he wished might resemble each other. He painted the one
(loon) with a white breast and square spots on the back. The other
(raven) saw how comical the loon appeared, and laughed so much that the
loon became ashamed and escaped to the water, where it always presents
its white breast in order to hide the spots of the back which caused so
much ridicule. The raven eluded the attempt to be painted in like
manner, and stoutly refused to come near.

_Origin of the gulls._--Some people in a boat desired to go around a
point of land which projected far into the water. As the water there was
always in a violent commotion under the end of the point which
terminated in a high cliff some of the women were requested to walk over
the neck of land. One of them got out with her children in order to
lighten the boat. She was directed to go over the place, and they
promised to wait for her on the other side. The people in the boat had
gone so far that their voices, giving the direction, became indistinct.
The poor woman became confused and suspected they wanted to desert her.
She remained about the cliff, constantly crying the last words she
heard. She ultimately changed into a gull, and now shouts only the sound
like “_go over_, _goover_, _over_, _ove_,” _etc._

_Origin of the hawks._--Among the people of a village was a woman who
was noted for the shortness of her neck. She was so constantly teased
and tormented about it that she often sat for hours on the edge of high
places. She changed into a hawk, and now when she sees anyone she
immediately exclaims, “Kea! kea! kea! who, who, who was it that cried
‘short neck?’”

_Origin of the swallow._--Some small children, who were extraordinarily
wise, were playing at building toy houses on the edge of a high cliff
near the village in which they dwelt. They were envied for their wisdom,
and to them was given the name “Zulugagnak,” or, like a raven, which was
supposed to know all the past and future. While these children were thus
amusing themselves they were changed into small birds, which did not
forget their last occupation, and even to this day they come to the
cliffs, near the camps of the people, and build houses of mud, which
they affix to the side of the rock. Even the raven does not molest them,
and the Eskimo children love to watch the swallow build his iglugiak of

_The hare._--The hare was a child who was so ill treated and abused by
the other people, because it had long ears, that it went to dwell by
itself. When it sees anyone the ears are laid down on the back, for, if
it hears the shout of a person, it thinks they are talking of its long
ears. It has no tail, because it did not formerly have one.

_The wolf_ was a poor woman, who had so many children that she could not
find enough for them to eat. They became so gaunt and hungry that they
were changed into wolves, constantly roaming over the land seeking food.
The cry of the mother may be heard as she strives to console her hungry
children, saying that food in plenty will soon be found.

_Lice_ are supposed to drop from the body of a huge spirit, dwelling in
the regions above, who was punished by having these pests constantly
torment him. In his rage to free himself the lice dropped down upon the
people who condemned him to this punishment.

_Origin of mosquitoes._--A man had a wife who was negligent and failed
to scrape his skin clothing properly when he returned from his
expeditions. He endeavored to persuade her to mend her ways and do as a
wife should do. She was again directed to remove the accumulated layer
of dirt from the man’s coat. She petulantly took the garment and cleaned
it in such a slovenly way that when the husband discovered the condition
of the coat he took some of the dirt from it and flung it after her. The
particles changed into mosquitoes, and now (in spring), when the warm
days come and the women have the labor of cleaning clothes to perform,
the insects gather around them, and the women are thus reminded of the
slovenly wife and what befel her.

_Story of the man and his fox wife._--A hunter who lived by himself
found when he returned to the place after an absence that it had been
visited and everything put in order as a dutiful wife should do. This
happened so often with no visible signs of tracks that the man
determined to watch and see who would scrape his skin clothing and
boots, hang them out to dry, and cook nice hot food ready to be eaten
when he returned. One day he went away as though going off on a hunt,
but secreted himself so as to observe the entrance of anything into the
house. After a while he saw a fox enter. He suspected that the fox was
after food. He quietly slipped up to the house and on entering saw a
most beautiful woman dressed in skin clothing of wondrous make. Within
the house, on a line, hung the skin of a fox. The man inquired if it was
she who had done these things. She replied that she was his wife and it
was her duty to do them, hoping that she had performed her labor in a
manner satisfactory to him.

After they had lived together a short time the husband detected a musky
odor about the house and inquired of her what it was. She replied that
she emitted the odor and if he was going to find fault with her for it
she would leave. She dashed off her clothing and, resuming the skin of
the fox, slipped quietly away and has never been disposed to visit a man
since that time.

The following is a story obtained from Labrador:

_The rivals._--Between two men there existed keen rivalry. Each asserted
himself to be the stronger and endeavored to prove himself superior to
the other. One of them declared his ability to form an island where none
had hitherto existed. He picked up an immense rock and hurled it into
the sea where it became an island. The other, with his foot, pushed it
so hard that it landed on the top of another island lying far beyond.
The mark of the footprint is visible to this day, and that place is now
known as Tu kik´ tok.

_The jealous man._--A man fell in love with two women and was so jealous
of them that he would not permit them to look upon others, much less
speak to them. The women finally wearied of the restrictions placed upon
them and resolved to desert the man. They fled along the coast until
they were faint from hunger. At length they came upon the body of a
whale cast on the shore. Here they determined to dwell for a time.
The man sought for the women in every possible place with no success.
A conjurer was consulted, and after much deliberation, he told the
deserted man to journey to a place where he would find the carcass of a
whale and to secrete himself in the vicinity and watch for the women. He
started out accordingly and before long had the pleasure of seeing the
two women. They detected the man hastening toward them and tried to
secrete themselves until he should get by. He seized one of them,
however, and bound her with thongs. The other was less disposed to
submit, and the man put out her eyes to deprive her of the privilege of
looking at any man. They remained about that locality for some time,
and various animals of the land came to the carcass to feast upon the
remains. The man caught a great number of foxes and other valuable furs
and after a time returned to the camp whence he came.

_Story of the orphan boy._--A small boy, who had neither father, mother,
nor any living relatives, was dwelling with some people who maltreated
him in every way their fancy could suggest. He was kept in the entry way
to the hut, like a dog, and was permitted to eat only of the skin of
walrus when they had it to give him. At other times they would throw to
him what they themselves would not eat. They forbade him to have a knife
with which to cut his food, and he was compelled to gnaw the bones like
a dog. A little girl, the daughter of the head of the family with whom
he lived, would secretly take to him a knife with which to divide the
tough skin of the walrus. She also carried food of better quality to him
when she could do so clandestinely. These kind attentions pleased him
very much, and made him long for an opportunity to escape. But how was
he to better his condition when the hand of everybody was raised against
him on account of his treatment at home? The little girl who had so
often befriended him could not assist him to escape from such a life. He
endeavored to lay a plan, but it came to naught. There seemed no help
for him. One night he abandoned all hope and threw himself on the ground
in despair. While there he gazed at the bright moon, and the more
intently his gaze was fixed upon it the more he thought he discerned the
face of a man in it, and at last he cried to the man to come and help
him escape from his miserable life. The man came down from the moon and
gave the poor boy a frightful beating, but the more he was beaten the
larger he seemed to grow. After a while he became so strong that he
could handle a large rock as easily as he had hitherto handled a little
stone. A large, round bowlder from the beach was no more to him than a
bullet held in the hand of a strong man.

The moon man then told the boy that he was large enough to take care of
himself and do as he pleased with the people who had treated him so
badly. With this the two parted, and the moon man went to his hole in
the sky, while the boy walked along the beach picking up rocks and
tossing them along the shore until the character of the water’s edge was
entirely changed. When the boy arrived at the hut it was daylight, for
he had tarried so long on the beach testing his strength that the night
had slipped away.

The people were terrified when they saw to what enormous proportions the
abused boy had grown. He became frenzied the instant he saw his former
persecutors, and seizing first one and then the other in his hands
dashed them against the rocks. The blood and brains ran in streams. One
of the men, seeing his doom, begged for his life and promised his kaiak,
spears, sled, and wife if he should be spared. The enraged boy continued
the slaughter until only the little girl who had so often befriended him
was left. She became his wife, and in the course of a few hours the man,
whose name was Kou jé yuk; became of a natural size again and passed his
life in comfort.

This story was obtained from a man from Labrador. The Eskimo assert that
this occurred near Ohak (often pronounced Okak), now a missionary
station. They show the rock, which a little imagination gives the
appearance of having dried blood and brains still upon it.

_The origin of the sun, moon, and stars._--At a time when darkness
covered the earth a girl was nightly visited by some one whose identity
she could not discover. She determined to find out who it could be. She
mixed some soot with oil and painted her breast with it. The next time
she discovered, to her horror, that her brother had a black circle of
soot around his mouth. She upbraided him and he denied it. The father
and mother were very angry and scolded the pair so severely that the son
fled from their presence. The daughter seized a brand from the fire and
pursued him. He ran to the sky to avoid her but she flew after him. The
man changed into the moon and the girl who bore the torch became the
sun. The sparks that flew from the brand became the stars. The sun is
constantly pursuing the moon, which keeps in the darkness to avoid being
discovered. When an eclipse occurs they are supposed to meet.

_Auroras._--Auroras are believed to be the torches held in the hands of
spirits seeking the souls of those who have just died, to lead them over
the abyss terminating the edge of the world. A narrow pathway leads
across it to the land of brightness and plenty, where disease and pain
are no more, and where food of all kinds is always ready in abundance.
To this place none but the dead and the raven can go. When the spirits
wish to communicate with the people of the earth they make a whistling
noise and the earth people answer only in a whispering tone. The Eskimo
say that they are able to call the aurora and converse with it. They
send messages to the dead through these spirits.

_The sky._--The sky is supposed to be an immense dome, of hard material,
reared over the earth, long from east to west and shorter from north to
south. The edges of the land and sea are bounded by high, precipitous
sides, shelving outward or sloping inward to prevent anything living on
the earth from going to the region beyond. There is the source of light
and heat. The dome of the sky is very cold, and at times covered with
crystals of frost which fall in the form of snow or frost films to the
earth, and then the sky becomes clear. The clouds are supposed to be
large bags of water, controlled by two old women who run with them
across the sky, and as the water escapes from the seams it falls in the
form of rain to the earth. The thunder is their voice and the lightning
is their torch. If a spark falls from this on anyone he dies and goes to
the region above.

_The winds._--At each of the corners of the earth there dwells an
immense but invincible spirit, whose head is many times larger than all
the remainder of his body. When he breathes the wind blows and his
breath is felt. Some breathe violent storms and others gentle zephyrs.
The male spirits dwell at the north, northeast, northwest, and west. The
females dwell at the remaining points, and each principal spirit has
innumerable intermediate and less powerful attendants.


The Indians of the Ungava district are locally known as Naskopie, a term
of reproach applied to them by the mountaineers (the Montagnais of the
early Jesuit missionaries) during the earlier days when the former acted
falsely in one of their concerted struggles with the Eskimo of the
eastern coast.

The name given to themselves is Nenenot, a word meaning true, or ideal
red men. To the west of these people dwell a branch of the tribe along
the east shore of Hudson bay. To the southeast dwell the mountaineers.

The western people differ greatly in customs and many words of their
language from the Nenenots. The mountaineers differ but little in their
customs, and only in speech as much as would be expected from the
different locality in which they dwell.

These three tribes have distinct boundaries, beyond which they seldom
wander. Of late years, however, a gradual influx of the western people
has poured into the Ungava district, due to the decrease of the food
supply along that portion of the eastern coast of Hudson bay.

The Nenenots appear, from the best information I could obtain on the
subject, to have been driven to their present location during the wars
waged against them by the Iroquois in times long gone by and remembered
only in tradition.

They assert that their original home was in a country to the west, north
of an immense river, and toward the east lay an enormous body of salt
water. The former was supposed to be the St. Lawrence river and the
latter to be Hudson bay. When they came to their present place they say
that they found Eskimo alone, and these only along the coast. They are a
branch of the Cree stock, as their language clearly indicates.

Many years ago war was waged upon them by the people whose name is
remembered with terror even to this day. Most cruel atrocities were
perpetrated, and in despair they fled from the land of their fathers,
where they had lived as a numerous people, and were pursued by their
merciless foes until but a remnant reached what is now known as the
“Height of Land.”

Being now driven to a strange land, where they found numerous Eskimo on
all sides, only a few years elapsed before they encroached too greatly
upon the land which the Eskimo had always held. Contention and struggles
arose, culminating in a disposition to fight, and in the course of time
desultory warfare, carried on by single combat or organized raids. This
lasted for many years, even after the advent of the white men as traders
along the coast. Some of the battles were attended with great slaughter
on both sides. The Eskimo seldom ventured far from the coast on their
raids, but fought bravely when attacked on their own ground. In most
instances they outwitted the Indians by decoying them into ambush, and
killing great numbers of them. Within the present century they have been
more peaceably disposed toward each other. Since the arrival of the
white men at various points along the coast these troubles have ceased,
and the Indians and Eskimo are now on intimate terms; not that either
party have any special regard for the new comers, but they have a mutual
fear of each other, and the white man now engages their entire

In the early struggles the Indian found the Eskimo to be a sturdy
opponent, possessed of greater endurance and perseverance than himself.
After the conclusion of the troubles they withdrew to their present
haunts, and now wander indiscriminately over the land, although the
Eskimo seldom ventures far into the interior unless it be along the
valley of some large stream. They even camp alongside of each other,
and aged Indian men and women, who have been left behind the parties of
young people who are in quest of fur-bearing animals during the winter
months, are only too glad to have a camp of jolly Eskimo near at hand.
With them they can live as parasites until their hosts are exhausted of
supplies, or until they move to another locality to relieve themselves
of the importunities of their unbidden guests.

The Indian is not the physical superior of the Eskimo. It is true they
are more expert on snowshoes, because the snowshoes belong to their mode
of life. They are used by the Eskimo only when they can be purchased by
barter from the Indian. The Eskimo snowshoe is merely a rude imitation
of the form used by the neighboring Indians. In the canoe the Indian is
at home; so also is the Eskimo in the kaiak, which braves the severest
weather and the roughest water, on which the Indian would only gaze in
dread and never venture.

Ability to endure fatigue is less in the Indian than the Eskimo, who
accomplishes by patient persistence what the Indian desires to do in a
hurry. I have not observed Indians carry such heavy loads as those borne
on the shoulders of Eskimo, who, with ease, ascended a hill of such
abrupt steepness that an unencumbered person climbed it with difficulty.
Several Eskimo men ascended this hill, each with a barrel of flour on
his shoulders.

The Indian is able to withstand the effect of cold as well as the
Eskimo. The clothing of the latter is certainly better adapted to
protect against cold. In times of scarcity of food the Eskimo is able to
go without food for a number of days and yet perform a considerable
amount of physical labor, while the Indian would require food on the
second or third day, and refuse to move until it had been furnished.

In comparison with a white man under the same conditions the natives of
either class would soon show signs of inferiority, and under prolonged
exertion but few, even of the Eskimo, would endure the strain. The
principal strength of these people is shown in their success in the

The children are obedient to their parents, who seldom ever chastise
them. Disrespect to parents is unknown, and in their intercourse with
each other there are no clashings during youth. Not until the jealousies
awakened under the stimulus of their sexual instincts arouse their
passions do they begin to show enmity and hatred toward each other.

The males evidently exhibit jealousy to a less degree than the opposite
sex. The men, after a protracted absence from each other, often embrace
and shed tears of joy at meeting. The women are less demonstrative.

The number of children born exceeds the number of deaths. Mortality
appeared to be low for the two years I was near these people. The
prevailing diseases are of the lungs and bowels. The lung diseases are
induced by constant exposure to extremes of wet and cold and the
inhalation of foul air laden with terebinthine odors, arising from the
resinous woods used for fuel. Changes of the wind blowing in at the door
cause the interior to become filled with smoke, which is endured rather
than admit the cold air from without.

Abstinence from fresh food for a long time, with dry meat only to
subsist upon, is often broken by the sudden capture of deer. This
affords an opportunity for gorging until the digestive organs are
weakened and serious complications arise. It is quite probable that
gluttony directly produces half of the illnesses that occur among these
people. The insufficiency of clothing does not apparently influence
health, as they seem utterly regardless of exposure, and long continued
dwelling in the tents probably induces nearly, if not quite, all the
other ills afflicting them. Indolent ulcers and scrofulous complications
are frequent, but only in few instances are of such character as to
prevent their following their usual occupations. During illness they are
stolid, and appear to suffer intense pain without the twitching of a
muscle. When death approaches it has but little terror, and is awaited
with indifference.

The remedies employed are only those afforded by the beating of the drum
and the mumblings of the shaman, who claims to have control of the
spirit which causes all disease and death. They are, however, firm
believers in the efficacy of potions compounded by the white trader, who
is fully as ignorant of the disease as the subject himself is. Often a
harmless mixture of red ink, red pepper, ginger, or other pungent
substance is given, with a multiplicity of confusing directions,
bewildering the messenger dispatched for relief, who, in repeating them,
often makes mistakes and advises that the whole quantity be swallowed.
The effect is sometimes magical, and the patient recovers. Powders are
rubbed over the seat of pain and liniments swallowed with avidity.
Strange as it may seem, they often report good effects, and rarely fail
to ask for more of the same kind. Both sexes attain a great age--in some
instances certainly living over seventy years. Some assert that they
were well advanced in years before the white men came in 1827.

The marriage ceremony is simply a consent to live together, obtained by
request if possible, and by force, if necessary. The man takes a wife as
soon as he considers himself able to support one. When the ceremony is
to be undertaken the consent of the girl’s parents or nearest relatives
is sought, and by holding out tempting inducements in the form of
presents, the suitor wins them to his favor. The consent of the girl, if
she has not yet been married is, of course, granted, if she desires to
comply with the wishes of her relatives. If not, the prospective husband
is informed that they can do nothing to turn her heart. The matter is
understood, and in a short time she is taken forcibly to his or his
father’s tent. The tie binding the couple is very loose, and on the
least provocation may be dissolved by either party. Continence on the
part of either wife or husband is unusual, and only notorious
incontinence is sufficient to cause the offender to be put away. Their
sexual relations are very loose among themselves, but their immorality
is confined to their own people. To take a second, a third, or even a
fourth wife, is not uncommon, but the additional wives are taken
principally for the purpose of performing labor imposed by the energy of
a successful hunter. It is only the wealthy men who can afford a
plurality of wives. The several wives often dwell in the same tent, but
as jealousies frequently arise they resort to fighting among themselves
to settle their differences. The husband looks on calmly until matters
go too far. When he interferes the women are sure of being soundly
thrashed. A woman, however, often assails her husband, and in some
instances gives him an unmerciful pounding, much to the amusement of the
bystanders, who encourage her to do her best. The man is a subject for
ridicule for weeks afterwards. Either sex can endure being beaten, but
not being laughed at. They rarely forgive a white man who laughs at
their discomfiture. An amusing incident occurred within a stone’s throw
of Fort Chimo. An Indian had his clothing stripped from him by his
enraged wife. She then tore the tent from the poles, leaving him naked.
She took their property to the canoe, which she paddled several miles up
the stream. He followed along the bank until she relented, whereupon
their former relations were resumed, as though nothing had disturbed the
harmony of their life. The man was so severely plagued by his comrades
that for many days he scarcely showed his head out of the tent. Rivalry
for the favor of a woman or man is occasionally the source of serious
affrays. An instance was related to me where two men sought the hand of
a woman, and to settle which should have her, they determined to go in
their canoes to the lake near by and fight with their deer spears. One
of the men was killed and the other thereupon obtained the woman, who is
now living.

The sexes have their special labors. Women perform the drudgery and
bring home the food slain by their husbands, fetching wood and water,
tanning the skins, and making them into clothing. The labor of erecting
the tents and hauling the sleds when on their journey during the winter
falls upon them, and, in fact, they perform the greater part of the
manual labor. They are considered inferior to the men, and in their
social life they soon show the effects of the hardships they undergo.

The females arrive at puberty at the age of 14 or 15, and are taken as
wives at even an earlier age. So early are they taken in marriage that
before they are 30 years of age they often appear as though they were
50. Some of them are hideously ugly, and are so begrimed with smoke from
the resinous wood used for fuel and with filth that it is purely
guesswork to even approximate their age. The women appear to be exempted
from the curse of Eve, and deliver their children with as little concern
as is exhibited among the brutes. The child is not allowed to receive
nourishment until the third day, and no water must touch its body. The
infant is swaddled in wrappings of skins and cloths. Sphagnum moss is
used next the body and changed every other day. They begin to walk at an
early age, and this is, doubtless, the principal cause of the bowing of
the legs so often observed. The girls are neglected and the boys given
every advantage. The latter soon discover their importance and rarely
fail to show their domineering ways to the other sex.

It is quite rare that twins are born. It is not usual for a mother to
have more than four children, although as many as six or eight may be
born. As the paternal origin is often obscure, the person having that
woman as wife at the time of the child’s birth is supposed to be its

The mortuary customs of the Naskopie were but imperfectly learned, for
when a death occurred at the trading station the body was buried like a
white man’s. A shallow grave was dug in a sandy soil, as this offered
less trouble in digging, and the body placed in a rudely constructed
coffin and covered with dirt. A small branch from a tree was placed at
the head of the grave, but with what signification I could not
satisfactorily determine. I received the reply that the white men put
something at the head of their graves, and so do the Indians.

Away from the post the Indians suspend their dead from the branches of
trees, if the ground be frozen too hard to excavate, and endeavor to
return in the following summer and inter the body. A person who has
distinguished himself among the people is often buried where the fire
has been long continued within the tent and thawed the ground to a
sufficient depth to cover the body. The tent is then removed to another
location. The Indians have not that dread of a corpse which is shown so
plainly among the Eskimo. The former have been known to strip the
clothing from recently deceased Eskimo, and it is not infrequent for
them to appropriate the gun or other implement placed by the side of a
dead Innuit.

In response to my inquiry how they disposed of their dead in former
ages, I obtained evidence that scaffold burial and suspension from trees
were formerly practiced and that subterranean burials were introduced by
the missionaries.

The dead are mourned for according to the position they occupied in
life, a favorite child often causing an alarming grief in the mother who
mourns for many days, constantly bemoaning her loss and reminding the
listeners of the traits in the child’s nature so well remembered. The
body is taken to the place of final rest by the friends, the relations
seldom accompanying it.

The life of these people is a constant struggle to obtain food and
raiment. Nothing, however unimportant, is done without much delibation
and repeated consultation with friends.

They are also guided to a great extent by their dreams, for they imagine
that in the night they are in direct communication with the spirits
which watch over their daily occupations. Certain persons obtain much
renown in divining the dreams and these are consulted with the greatest
confidence. The drum is brought into use, and during its tumult the
person passes into a state of stupor or trance and in a few moments
arouses himself to reveal the meaning of the other’s dream.

Superstition holds these people in its terrible sway and everything not
understood is attributed to the working of one of the numerous spirits.

Every object, however simple, appears to have its patron spirit, which,
in order that it may perform its services for the welfare of the people,
must be propitiated with offerings most pleasing and acceptable to it.
The rule seems to be that all spirits are by nature bad, and must be
propitiated to secure their favor. Each person has a patron spirit, and
these must always be placated lest misfortune come. These spirits assume
an infinite variety of forms, and to know just what form it assumed when
it inflicted its baneful effects, the shamans or medicine men must be
consulted. These are supposed to be in direct contact with such spirits.
The spirit will appear only in the darkness of the conjuring house,
and then permit itself to be appeased by some atonement made by the
afflicted, which can be made known only through the shaman. He alone
indicates the coarse to be pursued, and his directions, to be explicitly
followed, are often so confusing and impossible that the person fails to
perform them. All these minor spirits are under the control of a single
great spirit having its dwelling in the sky, a term as illimitable with
those people as with ourselves.

Each animal has its protective spirit, which is inferior to those of
man. The soul, if such expression may be used, of all animals is
indestructible, and is capable of reappearing again and again as often
as the material form is destroyed. There are spirits of beasts, birds,
fishes, insects, and plants. Each of these has a home to which it
returns after death, which is simply a cessation of that period of its
material form, and each may be recalled at the will of the shaman. If an
animal be killed it does not decrease the number of that species, for it
still exists, although in a different form.

The Canada jay is supposed to inform the various animals of the approach
of Indians, and these rarely fail to kill the jay wherever found.

A species of mouse is supposed to have such dread of man that it dies
the instant it wanders near the track of a person. They often find these
tiny creatures near the path, and believe them to be unable to cross it.

As the dusk of eve draws near, the silent flitting of the common
short-eared owl (_Asio accipitrinus_), and the hawk owl (_Surnia
funeria_), attracted by the sounds of the camp, creates direst
confusion. The announcement of its presence causes the entire assemblage
of people to be alert and hastily suspend some unworn garment, that the
bird may perceive it and thus know that the people are not so poor in
their worldly possessions as the spirit Wiq´-ti-qu may think; as it only
annoys people who are too poor to have extra garments. As this
short-eared owl frequents only the lower lands, the Indians assert that
they are compelled to select the higher points of land as their camping
sites in order to escape from him.

The shaman, as I have already said, is believed to be able to control
all these different spirits by his magic art, and to foretell the
future, but he must be concealed from view while carrying on his
mysterious performances. Hence a special structure must be erected in
which the shaman goes through various contortions of body until in a
state of exhaustion and while in that weakened condition he fancies
these things which have such wonderful hold on the minds of the people.

The tent (Fig. 85) is high and of small diameter. Every crack and
crevice in the tent is carefully closed to exclude even the least ray of

When within it, the shaman begins his operations by groaning and
gradually increasing the pitch of voice until his screeching can be
heard a great distance. The din of the drum adds confusion to the
ceremony. This goes on until the shaman announces the appearance of the
spirit with whom he desires to commune. He implores the spirit to grant
the request, and in the course of time informs the people outside that
he has succeeded in securing the services of the spirit. All within
becomes quiet and only whisperings are heard.

  [Illustration: FIG. 85.--Indian medicine lodge.]

The spirit promises to fulfill the obligation he has undertaken, and the
conjuror throws over the tent and states the result of the interview.
This result is always favorable, as his reputation depends upon its
happening. Any untoward circumstance, such as a person turning over a
stone or breaking a twig from a bush while traveling, is sufficient
cause to break the spell, and the blame can be laid on the shoulders of
such an offender. If the request be not granted within the stipulated
time as announced by the shaman at the end of the ceremony, some one is
certain to have been the cause of displeasing the spirit, who now
withholds the favor until reparation for the offense is made. The
conjurer is not slow to make some one do penance while he himself is
gaining time, as he takes good care not to attempt anything out of

When an Indian kills one of the larger and fiercer wild beasts it is
customary to reserve a portion of the skin or other part of the body as
a memento of the deed.

These mementos are sacredly kept to show the prowess of the hunter and
at the same time they serve as a token of the wealth procured by
bartering the pelt of the animal to the trader. The wolf, bear, and
wolverine are considered worthy of remembrance, and of the first and
last mentioned animals a claw or a tip of an ear may serve as a

The under lip of the bear (Fig. 86) is the portion preserved. The skin
is cut off and spread flat to dry. The flesh side of the skin is painted
with powdered hematite mixed with water or oil.

The outer edges or lips are ornamented with a single row of many-colored
beads. At the apex or middle of the lip is attached a pendant in the
form of a fish. The fish is 3 or 4 inches long, made of cloth and has a
row of beads extending around the entire circumference of the length of
the body.

These mementos are procured with great difficulty from the hunter who
has risked his life in the struggles attending the capture of the
beasts, for the barren-ground bear of that region is not a timid
creature like the black bear; and unless the hunter is well prepared for
the animal he would do well to let it alone.

  [Illustration: FIG. 86.--Indian amulet of bearskin.]

The occupations of the sexes are so numerous that a detailed account
alone would suffice, as the various seasons have their regular routine
labors besides those unexpectedly appearing. In the spring the Indians
of both sexes come to the post of Fort Chimo to trade their winter’s
hunt of fur-bearing animals. About the middle of March word is brought
that the camp of old men and women with a number of children, left from
the parties scattered in all directions during the previous fall, are
slowly approaching the post. They come by easy stages, camping here and
there for a day or two, but striving to be near about the time that the
earlier parties come in to trade. These latter straggle along from the
middle of April to the last of May, those who had ascended the streams
to the headwaters often not arriving until after the breaking of the ice
in the river, which may be as late as the 15th of June. When they
collect at the post they have an opportunity to meet after a separation
of months and enjoy a period of rest. The trading of their furs and
other articles continues slowly until the parties have made their
selections of guns, ammunition, tobacco, and cloths, a quantity of
flour, biscuit, peas, beans, rice, and sugar. Molasses is purchased in
enormous quantities, a hogshead of 90 gallons sufficing for only three
or four days’ trade. Other articles of varied character, from needles
and beads to calico and cloth, are bought by the women.

The parties receive the allowance given in advance for the prosecution
of the ensuing winter’s hunt, after which they are relied on to raft
down the supply of wood cut by the white men for the next winter’s
supply of fuel. This consumes the season until the middle of July.
Stragglers are out even later. The men, meantime, select the locality
where they will remain for the summer and fall. The winter is to be
occupied in getting furs. Each head of a party announces his intended
location and the parties gradually leave the post for their destination.
Some of the Indians in former years were employed to assist the salmon
fishing, but they proved to be unreliable, either through fear of the
turbulent waters of the Koksoak or inattention to their task. They were
easily allured from the nets by the appearance of any game, and as the
tides in that river do not wait even for an Indian, serious losses
resulted from carelessness. Hence their places in later years are filled
by Eskimo, who are better adapted to the work.

The various parties disperse in different directions in order that the
entire district may afford its products for their benefit. The Indians
know the habits of the animals in those regions so well that they are
sure, if they go to a particular locality, to find the game they are in
quest of.

The reindeer provides them with the greater part of their food and the
skins of these animals afford them clothing.

Although their food consists of reindeer, ptarmigan, fish, and other
game, the deer is their main reliance, and when without it, however
great the abundance of other food, they consider themselves starving.

The deer are procured in several ways, the principal of which is by the
use of the lance or spear. In the months of September and October they
collect from various directions. During the spring the females had
repaired to the treeless hills and mountains of the Cape Chidley region
to bring forth their young on those elevations in early June or late
May. After the young have become of good size the mothers lead them to
certain localities whither the males, having gone in an opposite
direction, also return. They meet somewhere along the banks of the
Koksoak river, usually near the confluence of that river with the North
or Larch. While thousands of these animals are congregated on each bank
small herds are continually swimming back and forth, impelled by the
sexual instinct. The hair of the young animals is now in excellent
condition for making skin garments. The females are thin, not yet having
recovered from the exhaustion of furnishing food for their young and
material for the new set of antlers, which appear immediately after the
birth of the fawns. The skin is, however, in tolerable condition,
especially in late October. The back of the male is now covered with a
large mass of fat known as “back fat.” This deposit is about 1 to 1½
inches thick by 2 feet broad and 20 inches long. The males are full of
vigor and in the best possible condition at this season, as the antlers
have become dry and cease to draw upon the animal for material to supply
their immense growth.

The hunting parties, always on the alert for the herds of deer which are
hastening to the assembling place, follow them up, and in the course of
time conjecture at what point they will congregate. Here they establish
camps and intercept the deer when crossing the streams. The canoes are
held in readiness, while the hunters scan the opposite hillsides for
deer filing along the narrow paths through the forests and bushes
towards the river bank. Arrived there, the deer, after a moment’s pause,
eagerly take to the water, boldly swimming as they quarter down stream
with the current. The animals swim high in the water, scarcely more than
a third of the body immersed. They move compactly, in a crowd, their
antlers appearing at a distance like the branches of a tree floating
with the current. The Indian crouches low and speeds for the canoe.
Silently it is pushed into the water, and two or three rowers take their
places within. Rapid but noiseless strokes given by sturdy arms soon
bring the boat below and to the rear of the body of deer, who are now
thrown into the greatest consternation as they perceive their most
dreaded foe suddenly by their side. The deer endeavor to retreat, but
the men are between them and the shore. The occupants of the canoe now
drive the deer quartering up stream and toward the shore where the camp
is situated. Should they, by some mistake on the part of the hunters,
start downstream, they are certain to be separated, and swim so rapidly
that unless there be two canoes they will, for the most part, escape.
If the herd is well kept together they may be driven at the will of the
pursuer. He strives to direct them to such spot that when the thrust
with the spear is given only sufficient vitality will be left to enable
the stricken animal to regain the shore. When the spear touches the
vital part, the animal plunges forward and the instrument is withdrawn.
A hurried thrust pierces another victim, until all the herd, if small,
may be slain. The wounded animal now feels the internal cavity filling
with blood, and seeks the nearest land whereon its ebbing strength
scarcely allows it to stand. A few wistful turns of the head to the
right or left, a sudden spreading of its limbs to support the swaying
body, a plunge forward--the convulsive struggles that mark the end. If
the band is large, some generally escape. Some may be so wounded that
they plunge into the bushes perhaps but a few yards and there lie and
die, furnishing food for the beasts and birds of prey.

The carcases of the deer are stripped of skins and fat and the viscera
are removed. The fat is laid one side, that from the intestines being
also reserved for future rendering.

The skins are taken to the camps and piled up. Those which are not to be
tanned immediately are hung over poles to dry, the flesh side turned

The meat is stripped from the bones and taken to the tents, where it is
exposed to the smoke and hot air over the fire and quickly dried. Some
of the Indians are so expert in stripping the flesh from the skeleton
that the exact form or outlines of the animal are preserved in the
process of drying. The drying flesh acquires a very dark brown color
from the smoke and blood left within the tissues. Certain portions of
the dry meat, especially those from the flanks and abdominal walls,
are quite palatable; they are crisp, and have a rich nutty flavor. The
intercostal muscles are also choice portions, while some of the flesh
from the haunches is dry and nearly tasteless. The back fat is often
dried and smoked, but acquires a disagreeable rancid taste.

The long bones are cracked and the marrow extracted. This substance is
the most highly prized portion of the animal, and in seasons of plenty
the deer are often slaughtered for the marrow alone. The fat is placed
in pots or kettles and rendered over a fire. It is then poured into
another vessel to cool, and forms a valuable article of trade and a
necessity for food, and is also required in the process of tanning the

The bones containing the marrow are cracked and placed in a kettle, hung
over a slow fire, and the substance melted. The marrow brings a higher
price than the tallow, and is esteemed a choice article of food. The
heads are thrown to one side until the decomposing brain is wanted to be
mixed with the semi-putrid liver for the purpose of tanning the skins.
When the flesh has dried sufficiently it is taken down and put into
packages of about thirty pounds weight each. These bundles are enveloped
in the parchment like subcutaneous tissue, and stored away until they
are needed for food. A species of mold attacks the flesh if it is not
frequently inspected and dried, but as it is harmless, it does not
injure the meat. Indians for weeks at a time subsist entirely on this
dried meat. They also have a season of plenty when the female deer and
the bucks of less than two years are on their way to the Cape Chidley
region. Here the females bring forth their young unmolested by the old
bucks and also less annoyed by the myriads of mosquitoes which throng
the lower parts of the country.

The crossing place of the females and young bucks is at or near Fort
Chimo at least each alternate year. About the 5th to the 10th of May the
assembled Indians anxiously await the coming of the game. In the course
of a few days the welcome cry of “Deer!” is heard, and the camp
immediately becomes a scene of great excitement--men hurrying to get
their guns and ammunition, women shouting the direction of the game,
and children running to the higher eminences to watch the herds.

The men endeavor to occupy a narrow defile, where the herd will pass
between the hills to the level land beyond. Some station themselves at
the top of the ravine, while the swiftest runners hasten to the head of
the defile to lie in ambush until the deer, urged from behind, rush
past, to be met with a volley of balls from all sides. Panic seizes the
animals, and wherever they turn an Indian confronts them. Until the deer
recover from their paralysis, and once more obey their instinct to
escape, numbers of them stand quietly waiting to be slaughtered; others
walk unconcernedly about, seemingly deprived of the power of flight. The
Indians hurriedly close upon them, and in a few minutes the entire herd
is destroyed or dispersed in all directions.

The guns used on this occasion are the cheapest kind of muzzle-loading
single-barreled shotguns. The balls used are of such size that they will
drop to the bottom of the chamber. No patching is used, and a jar on the
ground is deemed sufficient to settle the ball upon the powder. The
employment of a ramrod would require too much time, as the Indian is
actuated by the desire to kill as many as possible in the shortest time.
They do not use the necessary care in loading their guns, and often the
ball becomes lodged in the chamber and the gun bursts when fired. When
shooting downhill the ball often rolls out. It is surprising that so few
fatal accidents occur. A quantity of powder is poured directly into the
gun from its receptacle, the ball dropped down, and a cap taken from
between the fingers, where it was placed for convenience. Hunters often
practice the motions of rapid loading and firing. They are remarkably
expert, surpassing the Eskimo in this, though the Eskimo is far the
better marksman.

A third method pursued is that of snaring the deer.

A plan adopted to capture deer in the winter is as follows: A herd of
deer is discovered, and men and women put on their snowshoes. The deer
are surrounded and driven into a snowbank many feet deep, in which the
affrighted animals plunge until they nearly bury themselves. The
hunters, armed with the lance, pursue them and kill them. This means of
procuring deer is only adopted when the herd is near a convenient
snowbank of proper depth. The snow falling in the winter collects in
gullies and ravines, and only in seasons where there has been an
abundance of snow will it attain sufficient depth to serve the purpose.

Smaller game, such as ducks, geese, ptarmigan, hares, rabbits,
porcupines, beavers, and an occasional lynx, afford variety of food.
Ptarmigan are slaughtered by thousands. Hundreds of pounds of their
feathers annually purchase small trinkets for the Indian women, and
during this season it is unusual to see a woman without some feathers of
these birds adhering to her clothing or hair.

The women and men annually destroy thousands of the eggs and young of
these birds. Rabbits and hares, too, fall beneath the arrow or shotgun.
Porcupines are more common toward the sources of the streams falling
into Hudson Strait. They are found in trees, from which they gnaw the
bark and terminal portions of the branches for food. The porcupine must
be carefully cleaned lest the flesh be unfit for food. The hair and
spines are removed by scorching or by pouring hot water over the body.

Of the carnivorous mammals the lynx only is eaten, and this when other
food is scarce. Bears are so rare that they form but an unimportant
portion of the Indian’s diet. Wolverines, wolves, and foxes are never

Fish of various kinds are plentiful. The lakes and streams abound with
salmon in summer, and trout, white fish, suckers, and a few less common
species are eagerly sought for food. Fish are caught with the hook or
net. Fishing through holes in the ice affords an ample supply of fine
trout, and the net set along the shore upon the disappearance of the ice
is sure to reap a rich haul of white fish, suckers, and trout.

In the preparation of the food little care is exercised to prevent its
coming in contact with objectionable substances. The deer meat is laid
upon the stones of the beach and particles of grit imbed themselves in
the substance. The flesh for cooking is often dropped into the vessels
in which the tallow or marrow is being rendered. Neither children nor
adults have any regular periods of eating, but appear to be always
hungry. It is thus not unusual to see a filthy child thrust its hand
into the cooling fat to obtain a choice portion of meat as it settles to
the bottom.

The dry meat is often pounded into a coarse powder by means of stone or
metal pestles. The meat is placed upon a smooth, hard stone for this
purpose. The ligaments are picked out, and when a sufficient quantity
has been prepared it is put into baskets or bags and stored away for
future use. The cracked bones from which the marrow was extracted are
calcined and reduced to powder and used as an absorbent of the fat from
the skins in the process of tanning.

The unborn young of the reindeer, taken from the mother in the spring,
are considered a prime delicacy by Indians, as well as Eskimo. The eggs
of various species of birds are eagerly sought for, and it matters
little whether they are fresh or far advanced in incubation. The embryo
bird, with the attached yolk of the egg, is swallowed with infinite
gusto. The Indian seldom eats raw flesh unless dried meat be excepted.

Enough has been written concerning the reindeer to show that without it
the very existence of the Indian would be imperiled. Both food and
clothing, the prime necessities of life, are obtained from the animal,
and its numbers do not seem to decrease with the merciless or
thoughtless slaughter. Hundreds of carcases are never utilized.
I counted 173 carcases on one side of the river in going a distance of
about 80 miles, and when I came to their camps I saw incredible piles of
meat and skins going to waste. The winter months are occupied by men in
hunting the various fur-bearing animals, the principal of which are
white, red, cross, and black or silver foxes, martens, minks,
wolverines, wolves, muskrats, and beavers: these are abundant. Few
lynxes and bear are obtained. A considerable number of others are found
in this region and afford fine skins.

Steel traps are generally set, various sizes of traps being used for the
different animals. A great number of otter and beaver are shot in the
water. Deadfalls consisting of a log of wood set upon figure-4 triggers
rarely fail to kill mink and marten. The lynx is usually taken by means
of a snare with the loop over a circle of low pegs surrounding the
tongue of the figure-4 set of triggers. The spring, usually a lithe
sapling, is strong enough to lift the forelegs of the animal from the
ground when the noose encircles its neck.

The Indian conceives the wolverine to be an animal embodying all the
cunning and mischief that can be contained in the skin of a beast. To
its cunning is added great bodily strength, enabling this medium-sized
animal to accomplish destruction apparently much beyond its strength.

Every other animal in the forests where it dwells prefers to give it the
path rather than engage in struggle with it. When seized in a trap a
wolverine offers a sturdy resistance. Even a famished wolf, to my
personal knowledge, will stand and look at it, but not attempt to cope
with it. In this particular instance, however, the wolf may have
considered the predicament of the wolverine another means of strategy
employed by that animal to entrap the wolf, and so deemed it wise to
remain at a respectful distance.

Every form of torture which the Indian mind is capable of conceiving is
inflicted upon this animal when it is captured. All manner of vile names
and reproaches are applied to it. The Indian enjoys relating how he
singed its fur off, broke its bones, and tormented it in many ways,
as it slowly expired under his hand.

  [Illustration: FIG. 87.--Indian buckskin coat, man’s (front).]


The apparel worn by the Ungava Indians is quite distinct for the
different sexes. The method of preparing the skins for the manufacture
of garments is the same, but the forms of the garments for the sexes are
so different as to require special consideration.

The garments worn by the men differ somewhat according to the season of
the year, for the extremes of climate are very great. The clothing of
the men consists of a coat, breeches, leggings, moccasins, gloves or
mittens, and cap or headdress.

  [Illustration: FIG. 88.--Indian buckskin coat, man’s (back).]

The coat consists of the skins of the reindeer tanned into a thoroughly
pliable condition by the process to be described presently.

The shape of the garment worn in summer (Figs. 87 and 88) is somewhat
similar to that of a frock coat, but without the tails. The back is cut
from a single skin and the skirt cut up from below. Into this is
inserted a piece of sufficient width to allow movement of the lower
limbs. The sides are from the second skin, split down the middle of the
back and sewed to the skin, forming the back of the garment. The back
skin forms the covering for the top of the shoulders and extends to the
collar seam. The side skins form the front and neck of the garment. The
sleeves are made of a third skin, and frequently have a roll or cuff to
increase the length, if necessary. The collar is merely a strip of skin
sewed to the neck. It is usually turned down. The front is usually open,
and if made to be closed it is held in position by a belt or gaudily
colored scarf of woolen or cotton purchased from the trader.

  [Illustration: FIG. 89.--Detail of pattern painted on Indian

The seams of the clothing are always sewed with sinew like that used by
the Eskimo. There are but two seams which run the entire length of the
coat, and these are the side seams. The seam at the skirt, the armhole,
sleeve, and collar are the shorter ones. The coat is always more or less
ornamented with extravagant painted designs. The colors and other
materials used for painting these designs will be described in another
connection, as well as the manner of applying them.

  [Illustration: FIG. 90.--Detail of pattern printed on deerskin

The patterns of these designs will be best understood by reference to
the figures, which show some of them in detail (Figs. 89, 90).

The colors used often present startling combinations of red, blue,
yellow, and brown. The portions of the garments upon which these colors
are placed are the front edges of the opening of the coat, the wrists,
and rings around the arms or sleeves, the skirt and pyramid-shaped
designs over the hips. The piece intended to widen the skirt behind is
always entirely covered with a design of some kind. Over the outside of
the seams a line of paint is always applied, nearly always of a red or
brown color.

Frequently a series of quadrate blotches or squares produced by
variously colored lines runs from the apex of the piece inserted in the
skirt to the collar.

  [Illustration: FIG. 91.--Indian buckskin leggings.]

The length of the coat is such as to reach to the middle of the thigh.
The coverings for the lower limbs and for the hips are quite distinct.
For the hips the garment is a sort of breeches of which the legs are so
short as only to cover the upper portion of the thigh. The breeches are
held in place by means of a drawstring in front.

A pair of these breeches is never ornamented with paint, as they are
usually not exposed to view.

A pair of leggings extends from the upper portion of the thigh to the
ankles. The leggings (Fig. 91) are each made of a single piece somewhat
in the form of a narrow bag open at each end. They are held in position
by means of a string attached in front and fastened to the upper
portions of the breeches. The seam is on the outer side of the leggings
and along it is sewed a strip of deerskin having the edges cut into
fringe. The leggings are painted in much the same fashion as the coat.

The moccasins (Fig. 92) are rarely ornamented, except with beads on the
tongue or else with a strip of red, blue, or black cloth.

  [Illustration: FIG. 92.--Indian moccasins.]

In the construction of a moccasin the measure of the foot is taken if it
is intended for a person of importance or if the maker attempts to do
skillful work. The sole is cut out first in the shape of a
parallelogram. The edges are turned up and creases made around that
portion of the deerskin which surrounds the toes and a part of the side
of the foot. The creases are made perpendicular in order to take up a
portion of the slack of the skin. They are held in position by a stout
sinew thread run through each one and around to the other side to
prevent them from separating and thus “bagging” over the toes. This is
the most particular part of the work and on these stitches depend the
skill of the maker. The sides of the foot and heel are not creased as
the heel-seam takes up the slack for the posterior portion of the

The tongue of the moccasin is a piece cut into a shape resembling that
member with the tip of it over the toes. This is sewed to the edges of
the creases, and between it and the creases is often sewed a narrow welt
of skin or cloth. The superfluous edges of the slipper-shaped shoe are
now trimmed off, and the top, or portion to cover the ankle, is sewed
on. This portion is a long narrow strip of inferior skin of sufficient
size to overlap in front and to come well above the ankles. It is left
open like the tops of laced shoes. Just below, or at the edge of the
tops, a long thong of deerskin is inserted through several holes, which
allows it to pass around the heel and below the ankles, bringing the
ends in front over the tongue. The ends of the tops are laid carefully
over one another and wrapped round by the ends of the thongs which hold
the moccasins on the feet.

Certain portions of the skin make better footwear than other parts. The
neck skin is too thick and stiff to allow the creases around the toes to
be properly made; the flanks are too thin; while the neck is useful for
the tongues, the sides for the bottoms, and the flanks and portions of
the back, scarred by the grubs infesting the animal, for the tops and

Moccasins for young children often have a seam parallel with the toes
and the creasing is thus obviated. Those for wearing in the tent or in
the dry vicinity of the camp have no tops and are held to the foot by
means of a drawstring.

As most of the strain in walking comes upon the tongue, and this portion
is usually ornamented, it is necessary that it should be of a good
quality of leather. A piece of black, blue, or red cloth is generally
laid over the tongue for ornament. There is sometimes bead work on this
portion, but as these people are not skillful in the art of disposing
the many colored beads they are not much used for that purpose.

A single deerskin will make five to seven pairs of moccasins for an
adult, and as they last but two or three weeks as many as fifteen to
twenty-five pairs are necessary for each adult.

  [Illustration: FIG. 93.--Indian mittens.]

The hands are protected with mittens (Fig. 93) made of smoked deerskin.
The skin is folded, and along the fold the shape of the mitten is cut so
as to leave a part by which the two pieces are joined, and the edges
formed in the cutting are sewed together. The thumb is made as follows:
A tongue-shaped piece is cut out of the palm and the base of that piece
is left as the part to form the under or inner covering for the thumb.
A piece is now trimmed that will fit the place cut out and the two parts
sewed together.

The thumb of the Indian is, as a rule, shorter than that of the white
man, and a pair of native-made mittens are quite uncomfortable until the
thumb portion has been recut and sewed. The wrists of the mittens are
often gaudily ornamented with strips of red or black cloth. Designs of
simple character, such as lines and cross lines producing lattice-work
figures, are frequently painted on the back of the mitten. Beads in rows
and zigzag lines ornament the wrist, and strands of beads are pendant
from the outside seams. The strands are often tipped with tassels of
variegated woolen threads. The mittens intended for severe weather are
often lined with the thin skin of a fœtal reindeer, which has short,
soft hair. Great exertion often causes the hands to perspire and moisten
the hair, and this freezes the instant the mitten is removed from the
hand, and is liable to freeze the fingers within it.

  [Illustration: FIG. 94.--Beaded headband. Nenenot.]

The head-dress of the men for the summer is often a large cotton
handkerchief wound turban-fashion around the head to prevent the long
hair from blowing over the face. These handkerchiefs are of the most
gaudy patterns, and if they are not worn a simple thong of deerskin
serves the purpose. The girls and newly married wives often make bands
of beads, some of which are quite attractively designed, for their
lovers or husbands. These bands are about an inch wide and several
inches long. The ends are lengthened with strips of skin. The band is
placed over the forehead and tied by the strings behind. These headbands
are generally the most intricate designs of bead work which these
Indians display (Fig. 94).

A cap of deerskin is often worn, but it always seems to be in the way,
and is used mostly in wet weather. A piece of stiff deerskin is
sometimes made into the shape of a visor of a cap and worn over the eyes
during the spring when the glare of the sun on the snow produces such
distressing inflammation of the eyes. It is fastened to the head by
means of straps tied behind. The greater part of the men prefer to go
without head covering. Some who are able and love a display of fancy
colors have a cap made of red cloth and ornamented with beads worked
into extravagant patterns. The cap is a high conical affair, and from
the weight of beads upon it often falls to one side of the head.

The winter coat (Figs. 95, 96) worn by the males is of different pattern
from that worn in summer, and is made of skins with the hair inside.

Two skins, one of which forms the back of the coat the other the front,
are sewed by side seams running from the armpit to the bottom of the
skirt. On the shoulder a seam runs to the neck on each side, the back
skin extending high enough to form the neck while the other skin reaches
to the neck in front. Here it is slightly cut out or slit for a distance
of several inches to allow the insertion of the head through the neck

Sometimes a =V=-shaped piece is inserted into the slit at the front of
the neck. To widen the skirts a similar shaped piece is let into the
middle of the back skin; or it may be put between the side seams for the
same purpose. The bottom of the skirt is decorated. (Fig. 97.)

  [Illustration: FIG. 95.--Man’s winter coat (front).]

At the back of the neck a piece about 8 inches square is attached to the
garment. This sometimes serves as a collar, and sometimes it gives
additional protection by a double thickness to the shoulders, very often
the first part to feel the effect of the piercing winds.

A few of the coats for winter have a hood attached to them (Fig. 98, 99)
sewed on the back of the neck, which when drawn over the head serves at
once as cap and protection.

The collar and hood are invariably made from the skins on the sides of
the head of the deer. If two or more head skins are required they are
sewed into the form of the deer’s head. The collar is ornamented with
fringes cut from the edges of the skin. Sometimes the interscapular
protection is cut into three or four points, each one of which is the
cheek skin of a deer, and sewed only a portion of the length, the
remainder being left free and terminating with a series of long strands
or fringes. The sleeves of these garments have nothing peculiar about

As the Indian is always in the vicinity of the herds of deer it is an
easy matter for him to obtain the skins when in best condition, and from
the finer skins superior garments are made. The shape of the Indian’s
coat is not so well adapted to afford protection as that of the Eskimo;
hence, the white men in this region invariably adopt the clothing of the
latter in cold weather.

  [Illustration: FIG. 96.--Man’s winter coat (back).]

Indians eagerly accept any cast off garment which a white man has worn,
and they often procure the clothing offered for trade. Trousers are in
much demand. Coats are deemed great prizes, especially in the wet
seasons when the moisture would certainly ruin their own clothing by
causing the hair to fall off or totally destroy the shape of the tanned
skin garments. For underclothing the Indian man uses an additional suit
of ordinary clothing or else dons a shirt procured from the trader.
Drawers are rarely worn.

  [Illustration: FIG. 97.--Detail of ornamentation.]

That these people are little susceptible to the effects of cold may be
inferred from the fact that I have seen them come to the trading post of
Fort Chimo in the middle of winter when the thermometer had not
registered higher than 20° below zero for weeks, with no protection for
their legs except a pair of old buckskin leggings so short that the
bottom did not reach within 3 or 4 inches of the dilapidated moccasins.
The feet were, so far as could be ascertained, chiefly protected by a
wrapping of old baling cloth covered with a pair of moccasins which no
white man would have been seen wearing. I observed also that no
additional clothing was purchased for the return trip.

  [Illustration: FIG. 98.--Man’s winter coat, with hood.]

The garments worn by the women in the warmer season consists of thin
dresses of calico purchased from the traders. Thin shawls serve to
protect the head and shoulders. The feet are incased in moccasins. Some
of the women are able to purchase dresses of cloth, and these are cut
into a semblance of the dresses worn by the women of civilized
countries. It is not rare to see a woman wearing a skirt made from the
tanned skin of the deer. The lower portions of the skirt are often
fancifully ornamented with lines and stripes of paint of various colors,
extending entirely around the garment. A piece of baling cloth is often
fashioned into a skirt and worn.

The females appear to be less susceptible to the sudden changes of the
summer weather than the men. At least they exhibit less concern about
the thickness of their apparel. It is not unusual to see a woman whose
only clothing appears to be a thin dress of calico. During the winter
the women dress in the most comfortable skins (Fig. 100), blankets,
shawls, comforts, leggings, and moccasins. During exceptionally severe
weather, they appear as traveling wardrobes, doubtless carrying their
all on their back, and in some instances presenting a most comical
appearance as, loaded with clothing of most miscellaneous character,
they waddle over the snow. The winter cap is similar to that worn by the
men, but is not so peaked. It is an object on which they expend a great
amount of labor. The material is usually a kind of cloth locally known
as Hudson bay cloth, either red, dark blue, light blue, or black. The
caps of the men and women are usually made from the better grades of
this cloth, while the dresses of the women and the leggings of the men
are of the inferior grades.

If the cap is to be all one color, in which case it is always red, the
cloth is cut in two pieces only, and put together so as to produce a
cup-shape. Sometimes five or six pieces are cut from two or three
different colors of cloth and the strips sewed together. Over the seams
white tape is sewed to set off the colors. In the center of the strip is
a rosette, cross, or other design worked with beads, and around the rim
rows of beads variously arranged.

  [Illustration: FIG. 99.--Man’s winter coat, with hood.]

The body is covered with a heavy robe made of two deerskins sewed
together. This robe is often plain, and when ornamented designs are
painted only on the bottom of the skirt. These robes are always of skins
with the hair on. The flesh side is often rubbed with red ocher while
the extreme edge may be painted with a narrow stripe of the same mixed
with the viscid matter obtained from the roe of a species of fish. The
edge stripe of paint is always of a darker brown than the other colors
from the admixture of that substance with the earth.

This garment is put upon the body in a manner impossible to describe and
difficult to understand even when witnessed. It is held together by
small loops of sinew or deerskin. A belt around the waist keeps it up.

The women also wear in winter a sleeveless gown reaching little below
the knees and as high as the chin. The sleeves are put on separately,
like leggings. They are usually made of red or black cloth.

The gown is often extravagantly decorated with paint. The flesh side of
the skin is rubbed with red ocher, on which are painted in describable
designs. A strip of deerskin dotted with beads borders the gown, and
from the edge of the strip hang strings of these ornaments, terminating
in variously colored tassels of thread.

  [Illustration: FIG. 100.--Nenenot woman in full winter dress.]

The leggings of the women differ from those of the men. They extend
higher and the bottoms cover the tops of the moccasins. They are made of
skin or cloth, the latter black or red. To cut out a pair of leggings
requires skill. The cloth is doubled and then cut nearly in a circular
form. A size sufficient to fit the limb is sewed up leaving the
crescent-shaped remainder a flapping ornament. The “wings” are often
edged with cloth of a different color and on the outer border rows of
beads complete the decoration. The two crescents are left free, and as
the wind separates them they flap most fantastically. They are always
worn so as to be on the outer side of the legs. The bottoms of the
leggings are heavily loaded with numerous rows of fancy beads.

Moccasins are alike for both sexes.

As additional protection from cold the shoulders are covered with a
mantle of soft skins from young deer. Blankets purchased from the
traders are also sometimes thrown over the shoulders or around the

Children are clad like adults, excepting that their apparel is less
carefully made and they often present a disgusting appearance, with
their clothing glazed with filth and glistening with vermin.

Infants usually have their garments made in the “combination” form.
The cap forms a separate piece and is fitted so closely that it is not
removed until the growth of the head bursts the material of which the
cap is made.

When traveling men and women smoke or snuff a good deal. Tobacco and a
few other necessary articles are carried in a bag known as “fire bag.”
These are made of cloth and trimmed with beads, and are often quite
tastefully ornamented.

The detailed figures which I have presented show much better than any
description the designs used in ornamenting their clothing. Some of the
patterns are rude copies of the designs found upon cheap handkerchiefs,
scarfs, and other printed fabrics.

  [Illustration: FIG. 101.--Sealskin headband. Nenenot.]

I have already spoken of the headbands worked for the men by their wives
and sweethearts. Such a headband, made of sealskin procured from the
Eskimo, is shown in Fig. 101 (No. 3449). The headband is used to support
the weight of a load carried on the back, relieving the strain on the
shoulders and making it easier to breathe. The band passes over the
forehead to the back, where it is attached to the load. Various forms of
these headbands or portage straps are made. Sometimes a piece of birch
bark is placed under the strap where it touches the forehead. It is said
that the bark does not become wet from the moisture induced by the
severe exertion and thus burn the head.

  [Illustration: FIG. 102.--Skin scraper (front). Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 103.--Skin scraper (back). Nenenot.]


Having now given a general description of the clothing of the Nenenot, I
may proceed to describe the process of preparing the skins of which this
clothing is made. The skins of the deer, which are to be converted into
buckskin and parchment, are laid to one side in a heap, just as they
came from the bodies of the animals or after they have gone through a
process to be subsequently described.

When the skins have laid in this heap for several days decomposition
sets in and loosens the hair so it will readily pull out. When the pelt
is ready for scraping it is thrown over a round stick of wood some 3 or
4 inches in diameter and 3 or 4 feet long, one end of which rests on the
ground while the other is pressed against the abdomen of the woman who
is doing the work. Then she takes a tool like a spoke shave (Figs. 102,
103, No. 3162) made from the radius of the deer, by cutting a slice off
the middle part of the back of the bone, so as to make a sharp edge
while the untouched ends serve for handles, and with this scrapes off
the loosened hair.

The sharp edge of the bone instrument coming against the hairs pushes or
pulls them out but does not cut the skin.

The flesh side of the pelt is now worked to free it from particles of
flesh and blood, together with as much of the moisture in the skin as
may be hastily done, for if the person has a great number of skins to
attend to she must work rapidly lest they decompose too much and

  [Illustration: FIG. 104.--Skin-cleaning tool. Nenenot.]

Where the hunter has great success in killing deer many of the skins are
left untouched because there is no one to attend to them and they are
thus wasted.

When the pelts of the deer or other large animals have been taken from
the carcass they are allowed to dry with the adherent flesh, fat, and
ligaments until a convenient opportunity occurs to remove those portions
from the skin, which must be moistened to permit them to be more readily
scraped off. If the fresh skins are to be cleaned immediately, they are
operated upon in the same manner as those previously dried. All the
skins of fur-bearing animals and those furnishing skins for clothing and
other purposes must be scraped, otherwise they would soon be soiled by
the infiltration of the fat among the hairs.

To remove the adherent particles on the flesh side of the skin a
peculiar instrument has been devised. The tibia, or large bone of the
hind leg of the reindeer, is used for this purpose (Fig. 104). The
peculiar shape of the bone renders it particularly well adapted to form
a combination of saw, chisel, and gouge at the same time. The lower
portion of the bone is cut squarely off. A part of one side of the
remainder is cut so as to leave one side (the inner side of the bone) in
the shape of a chisel, having either a straight edge or else slightly
rounded. On this edge are cut a number of fine notches, which give the
edge of the instrument a serrated form. Some of the bones have a
spatula-shaped piece of iron or steel cut with the serrations upon it
and the metal piece set in the cavity of the bone. If the leg of a deer
is not convenient a wooden handle shaped like the long handle of a
mortising chisel is fashioned, and to it is affixed the metal point by
means of stout lashings (Fig. 105). Around the upper portion of the
wooden shaft a notch or groove is cut, and in this is tied a stout thong
in such manner as to form a loop to prevent the hand from slipping down
the smooth bone when the blow is struck.

  [Illustration: FIG. 105.--Skin-cleaning tool, iron-bladed.

The manner of using this instrument is peculiar and effective. The skin
is thrown, with the flesh side up, over a stake 2 or 3 feet high driven
firmly into the ground. The person kneels down before the stake, and
when the skin is placed so as to afford a convenient portion to begin
upon, an edge is taken between the fingers of the left hand and lifted
slightly from the ground. A blow is given with the tool which separates
the subcutaneous tissue, and by rightly directed blows this may be
separated from the skin entire. The skin is then laid aside for further
working. The subcutaneous tissue is washed and dried, after which it is
used for a variety of purposes, such as coverings for bundles of dried
meat and other articles.

The skin is worked over with this instrument to free it from a portion
of its moisture and is now ready to receive the tanning material which
consists of a mixture of putrefying brain, liver, and fat. They
sometimes soak the skin in wine, which is reputed to add greatly to the
lasting qualities of the leather, but the odor of that liquid lasts as
long as the skin.

The tanning material is laid on the flesh side of the skin in a thin
layer and by rubbing with the hands it is well worked in. Several hours
or days elapse and the superfluous matter is scraped off. The skin is
then scraped and rubbed between the hands, the harder portions with a
scraper resembling a small scoop, until all the skin is worked into a
pliable condition. If the skin is yet too oily a quantity of powdered
chalk, clay, calcined bone, or even flour, is thoroughly rubbed over it
to absorb any fatty matter yet remaining.

The skins having the hair on, for clothing, or those intended for
buckskin, are treated in this manner. Those intended for parchment are
simply rubbed with a quantity of fat, and then allowed to dry in that
condition, being of a yellowish or pale glue color.

Where a great number of skins have to be prepared, and some of the more
energetic men have as many as two or three hundred buckskins and
parchment skins for the spring trade, a constant application to this
labor is necessary in order to prepare them in season. This, in a
manner, accounts for the number of wives which an energetic or wealthy
man may have in order that the products of the chase falling to his
share may be promptly attended to.

When the skins intended for sale are selected they are bundled up and
covered with parchment skins or the subcutaneous tissue.

The skins intended for use among themselves are generally inferior
grades, such as those cut in the skinning process, or else those
obtained in the earlier or the later part of the season.

A species of gad fly infests the deer, puncturing the skin on both sides
of the spine, and depositing within the wound an egg which in time is
transformed into a grub or larva. These larvæ attain the size of the
first joint of the little finger, and at the opening of the spring
weather work their way through the skin and fall to the ground, where
they undergo metamorphoses to become perfect insects.

A single animal may have hundreds of these grubs encysted beneath the
skin, which, on their exit, leave a deep suppurating cavity, which heals
slowly. The skin forming the cicatrices does not have the same texture
as the untouched portions.

When the skin is dressed it reveals these scars, and of course, the
value of the skin is diminished according to their number. The Indian
often endeavors to conceal them by rubbing flour or chalk over them.

The season when the skins are in the best condition is from September to
the middle of December. The freshly deposited eggs have not yet produced
larvæ of sufficient size to injure the skin, and the wounds produced by
those dropping out in the month of May have healed and left the skin in

Certain skins intended for special purposes must be smoked. The process
of smoking tends to render it less liable to injury from moisture.
The pyroligneous vapors act as antiseptics and thus at least retard
decomposition of those articles most exposed to wet. The tents and foot
wear are always tanned with the smoke and this process is always
subsequent to that of bringing the skins into the pliable condition.

The process adopted by these Indians in smoking the deerskins is as
follows: The woods are searched for rotten wood of a special character.
It must be affected with a kind of dry rot which renders the fibers of a
spongy nature. This is procured and thoroughly dried. The skins to be
smoked are selected and two of nearly the same size and condition are
chosen, and sewed into the form of a bag with the hairy side within. The
after portions of the skin are suspended from a convenient pole and the
head and neck portions left free or open. To the edges of these is sewed
a cloth, usually a piece of baling cloth, and this is also left open.
The rotten wood is placed in a pan or vessel and as it smolders, never
burning into a blaze, the pale, blue, pungent smoke is allowed to ascend
within the cavity of the deerskin bag. The cloth is merely to form a
conduit for the smoke as the skin should not be too near the fire.

  [Illustration: FIG. 106.--Paint stick. Nenenot.]

As the process continues the skins are inspected between the stitches of
the sewing and when the operation has progressed sufficiently they are
taken down. It will now be found that the surface has assumed a pale,
clear brown color, the shade of which depends on the length of the
exposure to the smoke.

  [Illustration: FIG. 107.]

The cloth is removed and the skins are immediately folded, with the
smoked side within, and laid away for several days to season. If,
however, the skin be left to the influence of the air the coloring
matter immediately disappears leaving it of a color only slightly
different from what it was before it was smoked.

The scars, made by the larvæ of the insects, do not “take” the smoke as
well as the healthy portions and so present a pitted or scaly
appearance. From the skins having an abundance of the scars are made the
tents and inferior grades of moccasins and the tops of the better class
of footwear.

  [Illustration: FIG. 108.--Paint stick, Nenenot.]

The paints used for decorating the buckskin garments are applied by
means of bits of bone or horn of a peculiar shape best understood from
the figures (Figs. 106-110).

Those with two, three or four tines are used for making the complicated
patterns of parallel lines, and are always made of antler, while the
simple form is sometimes of wood.

A block of wood with one or more bowl-shaped cavities cut in it (Fig.
111) serves to hold the mixed paints, especially when several colors are
to be used in succession.

  [Illustration: FIG. 109.--Paint stick. Nenenot.]

Small wooden bowls are also employed. (Figs. 112-113.)

  [Illustration: FIG. 110.--Paint stick. Nenenot.]

The pigments used are procured from different sources. From the traders
are obtained indigo in the crude condition or in the form of washing
blue, vermilion in small buckskin bags, and a few other colors. An
abundance of red earth occurs in several localities. The pigments are
reduced to the finest possible condition and kneaded with the fingers
until ready for the addition of water often mixed with a slight quantity
of oil or tallow. A favorite vehicle for the paint is the prepared roe
of a sucker (_Catastomus_) abounding in the waters of the district.
The female fish are stripped of the mass of ova which is broken up in a
vessel and the liquid strained through a coarse cloth. The color is a
faint yellow which becomes deeper with age. The fluid is allowed to dry
and when required for use is dissolved in water. It has then a
semiviscid consistence and in this condition is mixed with the various
pigments. When a yellowish color is desired the fish-egg preparation is
applied alone. The albumen gives sufficient adhesive quality to the
paint and produce a rich glaze, giving a good effect to the otherwise
dull colors.

  [Illustration: FIG. 111.--paint cup. Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 112.--paint cup. Nenenot.]

The process of preparing the crude mineral colors is quite tedious as
the attrition is produced by rubbing the substance between two smooth
stones, a little water occasionally being added to hold the particles
together. The prepared paints are put in the vessels already described,
and when ready for use a quantity is taken with the finger and placed in
the palm of the hand while the other fingers hold the instrument by
which it is to be applied. The paint stick is carefully drawn through
the thin layer of paint spread on the other palm and a quantity,
depending on the thickness of the layer, adheres to the edges of the
appliance and by a carefully guided motion of the hand the lines desired
are produced. The eye alone guides the drawing, however intricate it may
be. The artist frequently attempts to imitate some of the delicate
designs on a gaudy bandana handkerchief or some similar fabric. The
principal source of the hematite is a lake near the headwaters of
George’s river where it occurs as a mass of disintegrated rock along the
margin. The water has by freezing split great quantities from the mass
and when there is a strong wind from the opposite direction the water is
often lashed into a blood-red foam.

  [Illustration: FIG. 113.--Paint cup. Nenenot.]


  [Illustration: FIG. 114.--Nenenot Indian tent.]

The Nenenot live, both in summer and in winter, in deerskin tent, (see
Fig. 114), which are constructed in the following manner: A sufficient
number of small poles cut from the woods are deprived of their branches
and brought to the camp site. A location is selected and the poles are
erected in a circle, with tops leaning toward the center so as to form a
cone 10 to 14 feet in height, having a diameter at its base of from 10
to 18 feet. The skins forming the cover are those of the reindeer,
and those selected for this purpose are usually of an inferior grade.
A sufficient number are sewed together to form a strip long enough to
reach around the poles when set up. As the tents differ in size
according to the number of people who occupy them, the skins sewed
together may be from eight to twelve. The first strip is made for the
lower part of the poles and is attached to them by means of strings
fastened within. A second strip is made to go around the upper part of
the poles, and is, of course, correspondingly shorter. It is placed last
so as to overlap the lower breadth and thus prevent rain and snow from
blowing in. The door is usually made of one large skin or two smaller
ones. It is tied to the poles at the upper corners and at the lower has
a small log of wood as a weight to prevent it from flapping. The poles
at the apex are not covered and through them the smoke from the fire
built in the center within ascends and finds exit.

The interior of the tent is arranged to suit the occupants. The floor is
usually covered with the branches of young spruce, and when carefully
laid these form an admirable protection from the cold ground and a soft

The women who lay this flooring display great taste, and certain of them
are noted for their skill in disposing the branches. The center of the
tent is reserved for the fire which is built there among a few stones.

The occupants arrange themselves according to the importance of the
place they occupy in the family. The owner or head man is always to be
found on the side opposite the fire. This is considered a place of
honor, to which all guests who are to be complimented are invited to a

The other members of the group arrange themselves along the sides of the
tent, and those who have been adopted into the family occupy positions
next the doorway.

Over the fire may be poles reaching across the tent, and on these will
be suspended kettles and pots obtained from the traders. The cooking
utensils are few in number, one vessel serving various purposes.

The hunting gear and the skins of animals, together with the articles
belonging to the females may be seen suspended from various portions of
the interior. Around the edges are the blankets of deerskin, and those
bought from the traders, lying in disorder. The outer edge of the
interior is slightly raised above the center, and affords a convenient
slope for those who desire to sleep. The occupants always sleep with
their feet toward the fireplace, around which there is no brush, lest it
be set on fire during sleep and destroy the tent.

They have regular hours for sleeping, but as these are only for a period
of short duration, it is not unusual to find half the inmates asleep at
any time a tent is visited.

The preparation of the food appears to go on at all times, and there are
no regular hours for partaking of their meals, as each person eats when
convenient. The food is taken directly from the pot or kettle, and each
one helps himself. Forks are not used, and the food is divided with a
knife or torn with the fingers.


The Nenenot are in the habit of taking steam baths, for which purpose
they use a sudatory or sweat house, constructed as follows: A number of
flexible poles of small size, usually willow or alder, which grow to
sufficient size along the banks of the streams, are bent to form a
hemispherical or dome-shaped structure, which is covered with tent
skins. A sandy locality is selected or one free from snow in winter, and
a fierce fire is built. When it is well under way a number of stones are
thrown into the fire to heat. When the heat is sufficient the fire is
removed and the structure is quickly erected over the hot stones and
some one from the outside fastens down the edges of the tenting with
stones to prevent the loss of heat. A kettle of water previously placed
within the bath house is used to pour over the stones, when heat rises
to a suffocating degree and produces the desired perspiration. Water is
not used to bathe in, though sometimes a slight quantity is poured upon
the head only. The bather remains within the hut until the heat has
nearly exhausted him.

These baths are frequently taken, and often when he has just started on
a journey the head of the family will be seized with a desire to have a
bath. Everything must await this operation before the journey is

An amusing incident occurred at Fort Chimo in the spring of 1882. That
season the reindeer were extremely numerous at that place, as they were
crossing to go to the northeast to drop the fawns. Often when the herds
or bands were panic stricken they rushed among the Indian tents, the
houses of the station, and, in fact, everywhere, with yelping dogs and
screaming women and children at their heels. An old man and wife were in
the sweat house at a time when a very large drove of the deer, in their
frantic endeavors to escape their pursuers, headed directly for the
bath. Some one screamed to the occupants to look out for the deer. The
man and wife made their exit just as a score or more of the animals
reached the spot. The man tore up the tenting of the bath house and
whirled it in the air, while the old woman cut the most astonishing
antics. The whole population witnessed the occurrence and did not fail
to help increase the tumult. Signs of former sudatories are quite common
along the paths where the Indians have traveled for many years.


Each household is supplied with sundry wooden vessels of various sizes
(Fig. 115) which serve for buckets for holding water and for drinking
cups. They are made of strips of thin boards cut from spruce or from
larch trees, the wider strips being as much as six inches wide and
one-third of an inch thick. They are steamed and bent into ovoid or
circular forms and the ends of the strip overlapping. Then they are
sewed with split roots from those trees. A groove is cut near the lower
edge and into it is placed a dish-shaped piece of wood for a bottom.

  [Illustration: FIG. 115.--Wooden bucket, Nenenot.]

These vessels are identical in shape and function with those
manufactured by the Yukon river Indians of Alaska.

  [Illustration: FIG. 116.--Birchbark basket, Nenenot.]

They also use berry-dishes or baskets like Fig. 116 made from the bark
of the spruce peeled in the spring of the year. At this time the bark is
quite flexible and may be bent into the desired shape. The corners are
sewed with coarse roots from the same tree and the rim is strengthened
by a strip of root sewed over and around it by means of a finer strand.
These baskets serve a good purpose when the women are picking berries,
of which they are inordinately fond; and during that season it is a
rarity to see a woman or man without a mouth stained the peculiar blue
color which these berries impart.

Baskets of this shape frequently have a top of buckskin sewed to them,
closed with a drawstring, as shown in Fig. 117 (No. 3485). Such things
serve to hold trinkets and other small articles.

  [Illustration: FIG. 117.--Birchbark basket, Nenenot.]

Large objects are carried in bags, either long or basket-shaped, made of
the skins of deer legs. The leg skins are scraped and worked to a
moderate degree of pliability and their edges sewed together until a
sufficient number have been joined to make the bag of the required size.
This bag is used to hold the clothing, furs, and other valuables. When
on a trip they are invariably carried. If the journey be performed on
foot the two ends are tied with a thong and the bag thrown over the

In preparing food stone pestles of various sizes were formerly used of
the shape shown in Fig. 118. These pestles are now mostly out of date
and superseded by cast-iron ones with steel faces, procured from the
traders. The metal pounders, however, are so heavy that they are
objectionable to people who have to make their burdens on the portages
as light as possible.

  [Illustration: FIG. 118.--Stone pestle, Nenenot.]

Spoons to lift pieces of floating meat from the hot liquor in which it
is cooked, are made of reindeer antler and of wood. The pattern of these
spoons is shown in the figures (Fig. 119). One shape (No. 3351, Figs.
120, 121, 122), was perhaps copied from a civilized ladle. Pots are
suspended over the fire with pothooks of reindeer antler hung up by a
loop of thong. These pothooks are also made of wood.

  [Illustration: FIG. 119.--Wooden spoon or ladle, Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 120.--Wooden spoon or ladle, Nenenot.]




Like all other Indians, these people are inordinately fond of tobacco
for smoking, chewing, and snuff; the latter, however, is used only by
aged individuals, especially the females, whose countenances show the
effect in a manner quite disgusting. The men consider a supply of
tobacco of as much importance as the supply of ammunition for the
prosecution of the chase. The first request upon meeting an Indian is
that you furnish him with a chew or a pipe full. Little satisfactory
intercourse can be had with him until he is mollified by a gift of
tobacco. The first thing that an Indian receives when arriving at the
trading post is a clay pipe and a plug of tobacco. The pint of molasses
and the three or four hard biscuit (which have received the local name
of ‘Canadian padlock,’ doubtless because they are so difficult to open),
are of secondary consideration. When the spring arrivals are camped at
the station it is not unusual for several to contribute a number of
plugs of tobacco and a gallon of molasses. These are boiled together and
then water is added to the mixture. This villainous compound is drunk
until a state of stupefaction ensues. The muddled creature under the
influence of that liquor seems like an idiot. The effect is terrible and
does not wear away for several days. The pipes used for smoking are made
of stone obtained from river pebbles, usually a fine-grained compact
sandstone. The color of this stone varies from a dark reddish brown
nearly the color of clotted blood to a lighter shade of that color. The
red stones often have spots of every size and shape of a yellowish drab
which form a strange contrast with the darker colors. The darker the
stone the less spotting it will have. The best of all the pipes and
those most valued are of greenish sandstone having strata of darker
colors which appear as beautiful graining when the pipe is cut into form
and polished.

  [Illustration: FIG. 121.--Wooden spoon or ladle, Nenenot.]

Other pipes are of hard slate and very dark without markings. All the
material is hard and the effect of the fire within renders them harder
and liable to crack if used in very cold weather. These pipes vary but
little in shape (I have figured three--Pl. XXXVIII and Fig. 123--to show
the pattern), but there is considerable difference in size. The largest
ones are made of the green stone, while the smaller ones are made of
other stones. The stem is of spruce wood and is prepared by boring a
small hole through the stick lengthwise and whittling it down to the
required size. It is from 4 to 8 inches long and is often ornamented
with a band of many colored beads.

  [Illustration: FIG. 122.--Wooden spoon or ladle, Nenenot.]

The rough stone for a pipe is selected and chipped into crude form.
The successive operations of wearing it down to the desired size are
accomplished by means of a coarse file or a harder stone. The amount of
labor bestowed upon a pipe consumes several days’ time before the final
polish is given.

The value set upon these pipes is according to the color of the stone,
as much as the amount of labor expended in making them. They are always
filthy, partly on account of the bad quality of tobacco used. The ashes
and other accumulations within are removed by means of a bodkin-shaped
instrument of bone or horn. The back of a broken horn comb is a favorite
material for making a decorated pipe-cleaner (Fig. 124). The
ornamentations consist of cruciform and quadrate figures on the handle.
The tobacco used for smoking is the commonest black plug of very
inferior quality, soaked with molasses and licorice. This moist tobacco
is cut into pieces and a coal of fire placed upon it. They prefer this
quality, and purchase the lighter and drier kinds only to serve as
kindling for the darker sort.

They do not know how to brew or ferment liquors of any kind, and as the
importation of intoxicants is wisely prohibited, the native has no
opportunity to indulge in his craving for liquors, the supply of which
was plentiful in former years. A spruce beer is made by the servants of
the company for the holidays, and a taste is sometimes given to a
favorite Indian, who is so easily affected that a pint of this mild beer
will send him reeling and happy to his tent, where it soon becomes known
that beer is to be had. The importunities for drink are now so frequent,
that the barrel must be emptied of its contents in order to avoid the
constant beggings for it.

  [Illustration: FIG. 123.--Stone tobacco pipe.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 124.--Pipecleaner, Nenenot.]





All the Indians of this region use birch-bark canoes, of the pattern
shown in the figure (Pl. XXXIX, from a photograph; the collection also
contains six wooden models of these canoes). The style of canoe used by
the Little Whale river Indians of the eastern side of Hudson bay has
very much more sheer at the bow and stern than those used in the valley
of the Koksoak. The canoe of each individual differs from others
according to the personal taste or need of the maker. The requirements
are that the canoe shall be able to transport himself and family,
together with the household property, whenever it is desired to change
camps. Some of the canoes are small, others large, often possessed by
two or more individuals in common.

These canoes are constructed in the following manner: Trees are selected
which when split will afford a number of straight-grained slats free
from knots. These slats are shaved to the required thickness and laid
aside to season. They are 3 or 4 inches wide and less than one-third of
an inch in thickness. The exterior or longitudinal strips are placed so
that their edges will touch each other. The inside strips or ribs are
placed about their own width apart, and of course are placed at right
angles to the longitudinal slats. They are thinner than the side strips
and become almost like shavings at the bow and stern. The two layers of
slats form a kind of shell upon which the skin of bark fits tightly.
The first process with the bark is to free it from the outside scaling
layers; the next is to soak it for several days in fresh water to soften
it; otherwise, when dry it would crack like an eggshell. When it has
macerated a sufficient time it is taken out and laid over a form of clay
or other earth, which has previously been roughly molded to the shape of
the interior of the canoe. The bark is now sewed along the edges of the
strips with roots of the spruce tree. These are long and tough, and
resemble splits of rattan when properly prepared for the purpose by
splitting and shaving with a knife. Various sizes of these roots are
used for the different portions. The threads are also soaked in water
until they become so flexible that they may be tied into a knot without

When the bark skin rudely conforms to the shape of the mold of earth,
the rails or round strips of wood along the inner edge of the canoe are
placed in position and the ends of the bark strips laid over it and
sewed. A second rail is now laid upon the first and drawn down to it by
means of the root thongs. A piece of wood is shaped for the bow and one
for the stern and inserted in position, and the end seams of the canoe
are sewed over these pieces.

The interior is then ready for the longitudinal strips, which are placed
at the bottom first and gradually built up on each side until the rails
are reached. The ribs or transverse strips are next placed in position.
Five or more crosspieces, or thwarts, are fastened to the side rails to
give stiffness to the sides and to prevent collapsing, and they may be
set either below or above the rail. The greatest care must be exercised
to give to both sides of the canoe the same shape and to have the keel
evenly balanced. This is rudely regulated by the eye during the process
of construction. After all the strips are put in, the boat is allowed to
season and dry. This causes the bark to shrink, and while drying the
whole is frequently inspected to discover any splits or cracks in the
bark. The Indian often wets the canoe, lest it dry too rapidly and split
under the tension. When the form and make are satisfactory the seams are
smeared with a mixture of spruce gum (or resin bought from the traders),
mixed with seal oil to render it less easily broken. This mixture is
while hot laid upon the dry surface with a small paddle.

  [Illustration: FIG. 125.--Spoon for applying grease to canoe.]

After the gum has seasoned for a day or so the canoe is put upon the
water and tested for its speed and seaworthiness. All leaks and needed
repairs are immediately attended to, and it is at length ready for use.

Many persons have not the skill needed to construct a canoe, and they
employ those who have had experience and are known to build an excellent

There are two kinds of canoes in use among those Indians, differing only
in the shape of the stern and prow. The original form was nearly flat
along the rails and had the bow and stern but little turned up. Of later
years intercourse with some of their neighbors has induced them to
modify the nearly straight edge canoe into an intermediate shape between
their own and that of the East Main Indians, whose canoes are very much
turned up, and are acknowledged to be far superior vessels to those of
the Ungava Indians.

As the forests in the vicinity of Fort Chimo do not contain birch trees,
and none are found until the headwaters of the Koksoak are reached,
where they are too small to afford bark of sufficient size and
thickness, the Indians are compelled to procure the bark from the
traders, who import it from the St. Lawrence river and gulf stations to
Fort Chimo. It comes in bundles large enough to cover a single canoe of
moderate size. If a canoe is to be very large two bundles are required.
The value of a black fox skin purchases a bundle of bark.

During the spring months, while the weather is somewhat warm, the men
are engaged in preparing the strips and bark for the canoe which is to
convey them up the river when the ice breaks and the river is open for

The paddle has a single blade with a handle scarcely more than half the
length of the paddle. It is used with both hands, the strokes being
given on alternate sides as it glides through the water.

When it is necessary that a portage be made the voyager takes the canoe
upon his shoulders by letting one of the center thwarts rest on the back
of the neck. The hands are thrown backward to hold up the end of the
canoe from the ground. A headband, such as I have already described, of
birch bark or cloth, often fancifully ornamented with beads, fits over
the forehead and is attached to the sides of the canoe by means of
thongs, which prevent the canoe from slipping off the shoulders as the
porter quickly traverses the narrow pathway through the trees and
bushes. The ground is often so uneven and rough that long detours have
to be made by the porter, while the rest of the party may go a shorter
path to the place where the canoe will again be placed in the water.
A part of the necessary equipments for a trip in a canoe are pieces of
bark, root threads, and gum to repair any damage resulting from an
accidental contact with a stone or snag.

Without the birch-bark canoe the Indian would have difficulty in
obtaining his living, as it is even more necessary than the sled,
and nearly as useful as the snowshoe.

  [Illustration: FIG. 126.--Toboggan, Nenenot, side view.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 127.--Toboggan, Nenenot, from above.]

The paddles used with these canoes are about 5 feet long, having a blade
about 30 inches long and 4½ wide. The handle terminates in a sort of
knob. The paddle referred to, for applying the gum and grease to the
seams of the canoe, has the shape of a flattened spoon with rounded bowl
(Fig. 125). The gum is heated, and while hot is poured along the seams
and pressed into the interstices of the stitches with the paddle. When a
patch is to be applied over a fracture or broken place in the bark, it
may be made to adhere by the sticky properties of the gum alone, if the
distance to be traveled is not great. A fire is then made and the wax
heated; the piece of bark is edged with the gum and pressed firmly over
the rent. A second coat is applied over the edges of the bark, after the
first has become cold. A few minutes suffice to repair an apparently
alarming hole.


For carrying loads over the snow all the Indians of this region use
large sleds (Figs. 126, 127) called tá-bas-kán, which is a word
equivalent to the well known name “toboggan.” These sleds, as used among
the Indians under consideration, differ very greatly in size according
to the use for which they are designed.

  [Illustration: FIG. 128.--Nenenot snowshoe, single bar.]

The method of construction is as follows: A tree is selected as free
from knots as possible and two boards of less than an inch in thickness
are hewed or split from it. These boards are further dressed to the
required thickness and width. The final operation consists in shaving
them down with a “crooked knife” to little more than half an inch in
thickness. One edge of each board is then straightened and the two edges
placed together. The length is rarely more than 13 feet. The front end
is steamed or heated in a kettle of hot water until the boards become
flexible. The ends are turned up to the desired curve and then bent over
at the end, where they are held in position by a transverse bar of wood.
This bar is slightly concave on the side next the sled and gives the
nose a curved shape. The curved portion of the front may rise as much as
18 inches above the surface over which the sled travels. At the place
where the curve begins a second transverse bar is placed, and at a
distance behind it a third, fourth, and fifth bars are fastened.
Sometimes an additional bar is to be found on the upper side of the
bottom. These bars are all fastened to the two bottom boards by means of
thongs of parchment deerskin, and run through holes on the bottom
boards. On the under side the thongs are let into places cut out between
the two holes, so that the thongs will not be worn when passing over the
snow. They are usually fastened in four places, one at each end of the
bar and one on each side of the crevice between the edges of the two
boards. From the nose of the first bar run a pair of very stout thongs
or else twisted sinew, which are drawn tight enough to prevent the nose
and curve from straightening out. From the end of the first bar to the
last one on the heel of the sled is run a stout twisted thong under the
end of each bar, which there has a notch cut on the under side for the
line to pass through. This line serves to strengthen the sides and
prevent the two boards from slipping past each other when passing over
inequalities of the ground. At the ends of the first bar and connected
with the side lines are two long stout thongs of twisted skin, often 25
feet long. These are used as traces, by which the sled is dragged. The
shape of the bottom is often fashioned after all the remainder of the
work has been done. The width of the nose is rarely more than 9 inches;
at the first bar it is about 14 inches and as much as 18 inches between
the first and second bars. From the widest part to the heel it gradually
narrows to a width of 5 to 7 inches.



Two boards are used, as one of sufficient width could not be obtained
from the forests of that region. Besides, a single board would certainly
split, while two obviate this danger and render the sled less stiff. In
passing over rough places the sled must bend to conform to inequalities
or else it would break. In the construction of this vehicle the Indian
displays much skill and a perfect knowledge of the requirements of the
case. The load is placed so as to dispose the weight on that portion
which will bear chiefly on the ground. The great length of the sled
enables the person to guide it more readily.

  [Illustration: FIG. 129.--Nenenot snowshoe, single bar.]

When on a journey the younger women and the men drag it along. When the
men return to the station to trade they alone drag it. A small dog is
sometimes hitched to it by a thong, but as the animal is so small and
light, it affords but little assistance. The animal, however, would
certainly wander off in search of game along the track, and by being
hitched to the sled is kept within bounds.

All the household effects, consisting of tent, cooking utensils,
clothing, and other articles are placed on the sled when the people are
changing camp.

The Nenenot are skilled in the manufacture and use of snowshoes, of
which four styles are used, viz: The “swallow-tail,” “beaver-tail,”
“round-end,” and “single-bar” (Figs. 128, 129). The frame is of wood,
nearly an inch wide and half an inch thick, usually in two pieces,
joined by long lap splices wrapped with deerskin thongs, either at the
sides or ends of the shoe. In the single-bar shoe the frame is on one
slip, spliced at the toe. Birch is the favorite material for snowshoes,
but is rarely to be had except by those Indians who ascend the Koksoak
to its headwaters, so that spruce and larch are generally used.

The arrangement of the toe and heel bars of the snowshoes will be best
understood from the figures. They are usually placed within the frame,
and set in mortises in the inner side of the frame, before the wrapping
of the ends of the frames has been drawn together; otherwise the bars
could not be placed in the holes to receive them.

The netting is made of deerskin, with the hair removed, and allowed to
dry into a condition usually known as parchment. This is cut into strips
of variable width, depending on the particular use for which it is

  [Illustration: FIG. 130.--Snowshoe needle, Nenenot.]

A needle of bone, horn, or iron (Fig. 130) is used for netting the
snowshoes. The shape of the implement is flat and rounded at each point,
to enable the needle to be used either backward or forward. The eye
which carries the line is in the middle. Various sizes of needles are
used for the different kinds of netting, of which the meshes differ
greatly in size.

The line is generally 10 to 20 feet in length, and when the netting is
completed it somewhat resembles the seating of a cane-bottomed chair.
Each individual varies his work according to fancy, but as the netting
between the bars is made of coarser line, more compactly woven, there is
less difference there than at the toe or heel.

The netting of the toe is of finer line and meshes than the middle or
between the bars; while that between the heel bar and heel of the
snowshoe is finest of all.

The netting between the bars holds the joints of the frames where they
lap over each other.

The toe and heel spaces of netting are held in place by the line passing
under the threads which are wrapped around the bars from the netting
between them, and again are fastened or slipped through loops of thread
or line which are let through the frame of the snowshoe.

Near the center of the toe-bar is a space left in the netting between
the bars to admit the toes of the wearer and allow them free action
while walking. This space is semicircular and is inclosed by several
strands of line passing over the toe-bar and forming loops, which have
the diagonal lines of the netting passed around them and drawn tight.



The snowshoe is held to the foot by a wide buckskin thong attached at
the semicircular space back of the toe-bar. The ends must be far enough
apart to admit the width of the foot as far as the toes, and must be
then drawn down to prevent the foot from pushing too far forward and
striking against the toe-bar. The loop passing over the toes must be
slack enough to allow free movement of the foot. When the strap suits
the foot it is passed around the heel of the wearer and tied
sufficiently tight to give ease and comfort. If too tight, the weight
soon presses the tendon of the heel. If too loose, it drops down and the
toe slips from under the toe band.

The single-bar snowshoes are not much used, because they are somewhat
difficult to make. They are of two styles. One has the bar directly
under the center of the foot. It is wide, and should be strong enough to
sustain the weight of any wearer. The other style is where the single
bar is at the front of the toes, which pattern differs from the
“beaver-tail” style only in the absence of the heel bar. This pattern is
considered the easiest of all to wear and walk in when once learned.
The foot straps are exactly like those of the common kinds.

  [Illustration: FIG. 131.--Wooden snowshoe, Little Whale river.]

The single bar in the middle of the snowshoe renders it a matter of
great discomfort until one is accustomed to it, as the straps are simply
loops for the toe and heel. This pattern has been already figured. The
largest snowshoes measure as much as 28 inches across and 3 feet in

Some of the Indians acquire great expertness in the use of these
snowshoes, and are able to run quite rapidly with them. The width of the
shoes causes one to straddle widely to allow one snowshoe to pass above
and over the other. Care must be exercised that while bringing the rear
foot forward the frame does not strike the ankle and produce a serious
bruise. In ascending a hill the toe must elevate the snowshoe to avoid a
stumble. In descending the body must be thrown well back or a pitch
heels over head ensues, and sometimes the frames strike the back of the

To put them on the feet the foot must enter the loop from forward toward
the rear, and when the loop is on the foot the latter must be turned
within the loop and then passed under the toe band.

Everybody wears snowshoes--men, women, and children. Without them travel
in winter would be an impossibility, and as the capture of furs is made
in winter and the ground to be hunted over must of necessity be of great
area, the snowshoe becomes a necessity as much as the canoe in summer.

I collected two peculiar pairs of snowshoes, made of flat spruce boards
(Fig. 131). They are shaped exactly like netted snowshoes of the “beaver
tail” pattern, and the arrangement of the foot strap is the same as

They came from the Little Whale river Indians, who informed me that they
were worn on soft snow.

In the spring of the year, when the snow is rapidly melted by sun, the
netted snowshoes become clogged with slush, rendering the weight very
fatiguing. Wooden snowshoes are admirably adapted for that season of the
year, and may be made in a few hours, while the netted ones require
several days’ assiduous labor. The Indians of the Koksoak valley do not
use the wooden snowshoes.


In former times these Indians used the bow and arrow exclusively, but
they have now nearly discarded these weapons for the guns which they
procure from the traders.

The bow and arrow is, however, still used to kill ptarmigan, hares, and
rabbits. The bow (Fig. 132) consists of a piece of larch or spruce wood
of 4 to 6 feet in length. It is only slightly narrower and thinner at
the ends, and nearly an inch thick and an inch and a half wide at the
central portions. But little ingenuity is displayed in the construction
of these weapons. They have considerable elasticity, and if broken it is
easy to obtain a piece of wood from the forest and fashion another. The
string is a strand of deerskin, twisted or rolled. It is rare to find a
bow that has a single string.

  [Illustration: FIG. 132.--Bow, Nenenot.]

The arrows are usually 2 feet or 30 inches long, and feathered with
three ptarmigan feathers. (Figs. 133-136.) The head is usually an
egg-shaped knob, terminating in a slender point which soon breaks off.



This weapon is used for small game, as the cost of ammunition is too
great to spend it upon game as readily procured by this cheaper method.
The Indian is very expert in the use of the bow and arrow, and is able
to knock over a ptarmigan or crouching hare every time at 25 yards. The
force with which the arrow is projected is astonishing. I have seen a
ptarmigan rolled for many yards amid a perfect cloud of feathers when
struck by the arrow. It often tears the entire side out of the bird.

In former years the arrow did great execution among the deer in the
water or deep snow banks among which they floundered when driven into
them by the Indian who, on snowshoes, was able to travel where the deer
sank nearly out of sight.

  [Illustration: FIG. 133.--Arrow, Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 134.--Arrow, Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 135.--Arrow, Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 136.--Arrow, Nenenot.]

Among the Indian boys it is yet a favorite amusement to shoot small
birds with the bow and arrow. Small crossbows also are used by children.
They have doubtless been made after those brought by some white man.
The children have great sport with these bows.

The spear, already referred to, for killing the swimming reindeer, is
shown in Fig. 137. The wooden shaft is 6 feet long, and the steel point,
which is made of a flat file beaten down to a quarter of an inch square,
is 11 inches long. It is set into the end of the shaft and fastened by a
whipping of sinew.

The weapon is held by the hand in a manner peculiar as well as
uncomfortable. The closed hand over the butt end of the weapon is so
placed as to have the fingers upward and the outside of the hand toward
the point, this rather awkward grasp enables the person to let go of the
weapon in case of threatened disaster resulting from a misdirected
thrust. The collection also contains three models of deer spears, Nos.
3205-3207. These are often also used as arrows to shoot at larger game
when the Indian is out hunting ptarmigan, hares, and rabbits. A hungry
wolverene or a famished wolf would prove troublesome to kill with the
blunt arrows. These models differ from the larger spear only in size.

  [Illustration: FIG. 137.--Deer lance, Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 138.--White whale spear, Little Whale river.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 139.--Point of white whale spear enlarged.]

The Little Whale river Indians use a peculiar spear for killing white
whales. (Figs. 138, 139). It is modeled after the Eskimo harpoon, but
has no “loose shaft,” or rather, the fore shaft and loose shaft are in
one piece, and has a circular wooden disk fitted to the butt of the
shaft, which takes the place of the bladder float, and serves to impede
the motions of the animal when struck. Reindeer antler is substituted
for the ivory of the Eskimo weapon. The blades are of copper or iron and
riveted in. These spears are 8 or 10 feet long.

The snare (Fig. 140) forms one of the less important methods of
procuring these animals. It is of parchment made from the skin of the
reindeer cut into thin narrow thongs. Several of these strands, usually
three, are plaited together to form a layer; and of these layers three
are plaited together to form the snare line. It often is made, however,
of three single strands cut somewhat wider and creased so that they will
lie well when the three are plaited. The more strands the greater the
flexibility of the line, but as there must be a certain amount of
stiffness to hold it in position the many strands must be woven more
tightly together. The length varies from 10 to 20 feet, and at the end
is a loop formed by turning the strands back and splicing them. Through
the loop the other end is passed, and the noose is made.

  [Illustration: FIG. 140.--Reindeer snare. Nenenot.]

When a herd of deer is discovered in a favorable locality the people of
the vicinity are informed and hasty preparations are made.

The effort is to cause the deer to pass through a narrow defile
containing bushes. The snares are then placed in position by tying the
free end of the line to a suitable tree and suspending the noose where
the heads or antlers will become entangled. Some are placed so that when
the foot is lifted the noose is carried along and tightens on it.

The people surround the animals, and at a given signal shout and create
the greatest din, to confuse the creatures, which plunge toward the
place where the snares are set. One or two hunters concealed in that
locality appear suddenly and further confuse the now panic-stricken
animals, which rush in every direction before their foes. They become
immeshed in the nooses and are held until their throats are cut or they
are choked by the cord.

It frequently happens that two deer will be caught in a single snare.
The Indians assert that it is a most ludicrous sight to witness two
sturdy bucks caught by the antlers in a single snare. They appear to
accuse each other of the misfortune, and struggle terribly to free
themselves. In the animals which are strangled by the noose the
congested blood distends the veins and renders the flesh very dark.

Previous to the general use of guns the snaring method was of greater
importance than at the present day. Even now the Indian does not lose
any opportunity of employing the snare.

Some of the snares are made of tanned skin, which is softer and is often
ornamented with strands of beads attached to the end of the line. Some
of them are colored red, with a mixture of vermilion and hematite
earths, thinned with water.


I have already described the methods of hunting the reindeer and of
capturing small game.

The beaver is not plentiful in the Ungava district, and not until the
headwaters of the Koksoak and the lakes near the source of George’s
river are reached are they to be found at all, excepting occasional

The Indians have few of the skins of this animal to sell at the trading
post of Fort Chimo.

The methods of capture differ in some respects from those elsewhere

The habits of the beaver are so well known that a statement of their
manner of life is unnecessary.

The food supply north of latitude 55° is so limited in quality and
quantity that the scarcity of the animals is due entirely to the absence
of the food necessary for their existence.

When the dams and structures made by the beaver are discovered the
people devise means to capture it.

If it is convenient to get at the holes leading to the structure, which
are always under water so deep that it will not freeze to the bottom,
they are closed with a stick of wood and an opening made in the top of
the hut. The animal is then caught by the hind legs or tail and lifted
out. It seldom attempts to defend itself at first. As soon as the hunter
can do so he jerks the animal out, and with a blow on its head kills it.
If he should pause for an instant from the time the hand is put on the
animal until the death blow is given, that very instant he certainly
will be bitten with teeth so sharp and powerful that the fingers may be
snipped from the hand as though with a pair of shears. The wound thus
inflicted is often very severe and difficult to heal, as the bite is not
only cutting but crushing.

Where the water can be drained from the pond or lake in which the
beavers’ hut is built, the Indians often leave it high and dry by
damming off the supply and allowing the water to drain away. As soon as
the house is out of water the occupant emerges and is killed. Beavers
are sometimes shot while sporting on the water during moonlight nights.

Some of the animals are captured by means of a net of peculiar
construction. This net is of fine deerskin thongs netted into a circle
nearly 2 feet in diameter, with meshes about an inch square. The meshes
in the outer row are threaded upon a stout thong of deerskin, in length
about four times the diameter of the net. This thong is now tied at the
ends, and over one end thus tied is slipped a ring made of spruce root
and wound with sinew to strengthen it. This ring is about an inch in
diameter, only sufficient to allow freedom of the ends of the line. It
is fastened to one of the meshes of the net in order to keep its place.

Where the water is too deep and only a single beaver is in the lodge the
net is carefully spread over the mouth of the exit so placed as to form
a purse into which the head and neck of the animal will be thrust as it
leaves the hut. The mouth of the purse now tightens from the ring
slipping along the string, and thus strangles the animal or else causes
it to drown as it struggles to escape from the tightening cord.

The net is said to be a very effective means of capturing the beaver and
will succeed when it has become too wary to be shot on the surface of
the water.

The flesh of the beaver is considered valuable food by these people.
They prize it highly and prefer the flesh of the female to that of the

  [Illustration: FIG. 141.--Crooked knife, Nenenot.]


One of the most important tools used by the Nenenot is the “crooked”
knife (Fig. 141). These instruments are made from steel files or knife
blades. They are of various sizes depending on the amount of material at
hand. The Indian takes a piece of metal and grinds one side of it flat
and smooth; the other is edged like a drawing knife. The blade is now
heated and bent to the desired curve. Some are more bent than others and
some have only the point bent to one side. The few left-handed persons
have the blade formed to suit themselves. It is set in a handle curved
from the user and bent upward like the blade. At the end of the handle
is generally to be found a thong on which a wooden button is placed for
attachment to the belt, as no man ever goes off on a journey without
this knife, however short may be the distance.

The handle is held in the hand at right angles or across the body and
invariable drawn toward the user. It is employed for all purposes of
whittling or shaving wood and one would be surprised to observe what
large strips will separate when started with this apparently frail
blade. The strips and slats of canoes, paddles, snowshoes, and in fact
everything that can be cut from wood, are made with this knife. It
requires much skill to guide the blade so as to cut the wood evenly; and
to this end the thumb, which is placed upon the outer extremity of the
handle, must steady the blade. The strain of the blade upon the handle
is very great, and it must be securely held by means of stout thongs
wrapped around it.

  [Illustration: FIG. 142.--Awl, Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 143.--Snow shovel, Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 144.--Ice-scoop, Nenenot.]

The crooked knife is a form of instrument in use among the Indians and
Eskimo alike, and one of the few implements which those widely differing
people have in common.

Awls (Fig. 142) are made of steel or iron. The back or spring of a
pocketknife or a portion of a small file appears to be the favorite
material for forming them. They are usually chisel-shaped and have
rectangular corners. The handle into which the metal is fastened is
generally of deer horn. The shape of the handle varies from a =Y= shape
to that of a crescent.

These tools are constantly required for piercing holes in the various
woods used in manufacture. Articles of simple construction the Indian
prefers to make for himself, rather than pay an extortionate price to
the trader. He is able to accomplish remarkable results with rude tools
of his own make.

Snow shovels are made of wood and are much used, for during the winter,
when the snows are constantly accumulating around the camps, the
occupants necessarily remove some to form a pathway from the door of
their tent, and as snow forms an admirable protection, it is thrown or
banked up around their tents to prevent the wind from blowing under. In
the spring nearly all the aged people carry one of the wooden shovels to
clear away a path or as a help to walk while the slushy snow is so
treacherous. Fig. 143 represents a common form of wooden snow shovel.
These are often painted with vermillion or indigo.

Fig. 144 shows a special form of snow shovel designed for cleaning the
ice from the holes through which the people fish. It usually has a blade
made from the brow antler or one of the broad palms from the horns of
the reindeer. The horn portion is attached to the wooden shaft or handle
by means of thongs running through holes bored for that purpose.

The ice-picks (Fig. 145) used in times gone by were pieces of reindeer
horn or bone, shaped like a narrow mortising chisel and attached to
staffs of wood. The chisel or pick was fastened to the staff by means of
stout thongs to prevent a side movement from the groove into which it
was set. The upper end of the staff was at times shod with bone or horn
so as to be available for a walking staff.

The ice-pick of the present day has a piece of iron or steel substituted
for the horn or bone; but, being heavy, it is not so often carried from
place to place. An Indian will in an incredibly short time pierce a hole
through 3 feet thickness of ice with it. A white man can not equal them
in this work.

  [Illustration: FIG. 145.]

Combs for the hair are purchased from the traders. They are highly
prized and are kept in little birchbark bags. For cleaning out the dirt
which collects on the comb the tail of a porcupine is used. The needles
or spines are picked out of the tail, leaving the stiff, coarse hairs,
which serve the purpose of cleaning the comb quite well. This tail is
usually appended to the comb-case.

The natives sometimes make wooden combs like the one shown in Fig. 146,
in imitation of those purchased.

  [Illustration: FIG. 146.--Comb, with birchbark case and cleaner.]

After a woman’s hair has been combed half of it is collected on each
side of the head and rolled or wound up on small pieces of board (Fig.
147) similar in shape to the “winders” on which darning or knitting cord
is wrapped. Strands of beads are now placed upon these to hold the hair
in place.

  [Illustration: FIG. 147.--Boards for woman’s hair.]

A remarkable object is shown in Fig. 148. It is one of a pair of boards
procured from one of the Little Whale river Indians, by whom they are
used to assist in swimming. One board is held in each hand and used as a
paddle to push the swimmer along. Indians able to swim are scarce.
I have not seen these boards in use, and am not able personally to speak
concerning their alleged function.

The fish-hook shown in Fig. 149 has a barb of steel or iron. It is on
the smaller hooks made of one of the ribs of the larger trout.


The boys have no consideration for the females of their own age, but
treat them as inferiors and fit for nothing but to be subjects of almost
constant annoyance and persecution. When a number of boys collect they
are sure to maltreat the women, even those advanced in years, and appear
to delight in any opportunity to subject them to the rudest mischief.
If a woman ventures to peep from the tent in summer a shower of water is
sure to be flung on her by some boy. In winter snowballing is equally
annoying, and when parties of women go to the woods to get fuel the pack
of boys is sure to waylay them as they return. If the boys can separate
the women their fun is complete; their dresses are torn and their
bundles of fuel scattered. They often retaliate, however, and strip the
clothing from some unfortunate boy who is compelled to return to camp in
a nude condition, much to the amusement of the people. This form of
disgrace appears to be the most severe which can be inflicted upon a
male; and the jokes to which he is afterward subjected keep him the
object of ridicule for many days.

  [Illustration: FIG. 148.--Swimming board.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 149.--Fishhook and line.]

Besides practical jokes upon women, running, jumping, wrestling, and
practicing with the bow and other weapons suited to their age, appear to
be the principal amusements of the boys. The girls have never been
observed to play at games of any kind. Their chief occupation is to keep
away from the boys. While walking out the girls generally toss stones or
chips in the air and strive to keep at least two of them up at once.
The Eskimo often practice this also, and, as it appears to be a general
source of amusement among the Innuit, I suspect that the Indian borrowed
it from them. Wrestling appears to be the principal test for physical
strength and severe contests often engage the stronger individuals. They
wrestle in the Eskimo fashion, and frequently indulge in trials of
strength with these people. As would be expected, the stronger Eskimo
are always the victors. All these contests, whether among themselves or
with the Eskimo, are carried on with the best of good humor.


Feasts are given now and then to celebrate success in hunting and
similar achievements.

In 1883 I was invited to attend a feast of furs to be given by one of
the most energetic of the Indians. We repaired to the tents spread on
the top of a high wall of rock a few rods from my house. As I approached
the scene I observed a tent of different construction. It was nearly
oval at its base and had a diameter of about 18 feet and a length of
about 25 feet. The top was drawn to an apex resembling the common roof
of a house. The entrance to the structure faced southeast. On a pole,
supported with one end on the apex of the tent and the other resting on
a post, were numbers of skins of various animals--wolves, wolverine,
beaver, otter, foxes, and muskrat, together with a number of the finest
reindeer skins. The sound of the drum was heard within the structure and
as I approached the door the noise ceased. I paused and was invited to
enter. Immediately two old men next the drummer moved to one side and
motioned me to sit down on the pile of deerskins reserved for me. It was
evident that the feast had been in progress for some time. Around the
interior of the structure groups of men were idly disposed, some
reclining and others standing. Not a word was spoken for some time,
and this gave me opportunity to look around. The floor was covered with
boughs from the neighboring spruce trees, arranged with unusual care,
forming a soft carpeting for those seated within. I saw a number of
piles of deerskins and several small heaps covered with cloth. To break
the silence I inquired if the drum was tired. A smile greeted the
inquiry. Immediately an old man came forward, tightened the snare of the
drum, and arranged the string, suspending it from one of the tent poles
at the proper height for use. He then dipped his fingers into a vessel
of water and sprinkled a few drops on the membrane of the drum-head to
prevent it from breaking under the blows to be delivered. The performer
then seized the drumstick with the right hand and gave the membrane a
few taps; the transverse cord of twisted sinew, holding the small
cylinders of wood attached to it, repeated the vibration with increased
emphasis. A song was begun and the drum beaten in rhythm to the
monotonous chant of o-ho, o-ho, etc. Three songs with tympanic
accompaniment followed. The songs appeared alike and were easily
learned. In the meanwhile the guests were treated to a strange-looking
compound which had lain hidden beneath one of the cloths and is known as
“pemmican.” I was solicited to accept a piece. The previously assembled
guests had either brought their own bowls and saucers to eat from or
else appropriated those available. Not to be at a loss, one of the young
men remarked that he would find one. From among the accumulated filth
around one of the center poles supporting the structure a bowl was
produced. The man coolly took the handkerchief which was tied around his
forehead to keep his matted hair from his face and wiped out the
interior of the bowl, and placing a piece of the pemmican within it,
handed it to the attendant whose duty it was to offer it to me.

I, however, found it quite inedible. Other guests constantly arrived and
some departed, made happy by their share of this compound of rancid
tallow and marrow with a due admixture of pounded dry meat of the
reindeer. I soon departed, and attempted to take the remnant of the
pemmican with me. This was instantly forbidden, and information given me
that by so doing I should cause all the deer to desert the vicinity, and
thus make the people starve. I explained that such was not my desire,
and after wishing continued prosperity and enjoyment, I made my way out.
I was then informed that the feast would continue for a time, and wind
up with an invitation to the women, who had hitherto been excluded,
to come and eat the remnants left by the men. At the end of two days
thereafter the feast concluded and a dance took place. In this
performance there was nothing remarkable. The men sang songs and kicked
up their heels, while the women shrugged their shoulders as they swayed
their bodies from right to left, and assumed various other postures,
although their limbs were apparently kept in a rigid position,
occasionally uttering their plaudits as the men made humorous
compliments to their generous host.

This feast was given by one who had been unusually successful in the
capture of fur-bearing animals, and, to prove his wealth, displayed it
before the assemblage and gave a feast in consideration of his ability.
Other feasts of a similar character occur, and differ from this in no
special feature.

The principal source of amusement with the men is the game of draughts
or checkers. While the men are in the tent or on the hillsides awaiting
the approach of bands of deer their idle moments are employed over this
game. Neither hunger nor the sight of game is sufficient to distract
them, so intently are they absorbed.

The game is played as in civilization, with only slight differences.
I am not aware that wagers are laid upon its issue. Some of the men are
so expert that they would rank as skillful players in any part of the

Small boards that may be carried in the hunting bag are used on trips to
while away the tedium of the long winter evenings with only the light of
the flickering fire of the dry limbs of spruce. Far into the night the
players engage, and are only disturbed when one of their tired
companions starts from his sleep to relate a wondrous dream and have it
expounded by the listeners, who sit aghast at the revelations.

They also have a game corresponding to “cup and ball,” but it is played
with different implements from what the Eskimo use, as may be seen by
referring to Fig. 150. The hollow cones are made from the terminal
phalanges of the reindeer’s foot. The tail tied to the end of the thong
is that of a marten or a mink. The player holds the peg in one hand, and
tossing up the bones tries to catch the nearest bone on the point of the
peg. The object of the game is to catch the bone the greatest possible
number of times. It is in no sense a gambling game.

  [Illustration: FIG. 150.--Cup-and-ball, Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 151.--Drum, Nenenot.]

The only musical instrument used by these people is the drum or
tambourine, which is of the form shown in Fig. 151. These drums vary in
diameter from 22 to 26 inches, and are constructed as follows: The
barrel is made of a thin slat of spruce, bent into a hoop, with the ends
joined in a lap, spliced nearly a foot long, which length is sewed by
four perpendicular seams. The stitches are made with deerskin thread put
through perforations, near together, made with an awl. The next
operation is to prepare for a head a thin reindeer skin, which has been
tanned. The skin is moistened and sewed so that all holes in it are
closed. A narrow hoop of a size to fit tightly over the barrel of the
drum is made and the moist skin stretched over it. The edges of the skin
are turned inward, and within this hoop is placed the barrel of the

A second hoop, two or three times as wide as the first, is prepared and
fitted over the barrel and head. It is pushed down as far as the
elasticity of the membrane will allow, or about half the width of the
top hoop. Through the outer hoop have been made a number of holes and
corresponding but alternate holes made in the farther edge of the barrel
of the drum.

Through these holes a stout thong is threaded and passing from the edge
of the barrel to the outer hoop is drawn so tightly as to push the inner
hoop along the outer circumference of the barrel and thus tighten the
membrane to the required degree. The outer hoop now projects an inch or
more beyond the membrane and thus protects it from injury by careless

  [Illustration: FIG. 152.--Drum, Little Whale river.]

Across the membrane is stretched a sinew cord on which are strung, at
right angles to the cord, a number of barrels made from the quills of
the wing feathers of the willow ptarmigan. Across the underside of the
membrane is stretched a similar cord with quills. These serve the
purpose of a snare on the drum. The stick used for beating the drum
consists of a piece of reindeer horn cut so as to have a thin and narrow
handle a foot in length and terminating in a knob more than an inch long
and as thick as the portion of horn permits. The drum is suspended from
the poles of the tent by means of thongs. The performer tightens the
snares, and sprinkles a few drops of water on the drumhead lest the
blows cause it to split under the strain. Nothing is done, nothing
contemplated without sounding the drum. It is silent only when the
people are asleep or on a tramp from one locality to another.

If a person is ill the drum is beaten. If a person is well the drum is
beaten. If prosperous in the chase the drum is beaten; and if death has
snatched a member from the community the drum is beaten to prevent his
spirit from returning to torment the living.

The drumbeat is often accompanied with singing which is the most
discordant of all sounds supposed to be harmonious.

The drums used by the Little Whale river Indians (Fig. 152, No. 3223)
differs greatly in construction from those made by the Ungava Indians.
The size is rarely so great, seldom exceeding 22 inches. These drums
have two heads or membranes fitted on the barrel and secured by means of
a single hoop for each head. The two hoops are then connected by the
tightening strings.

The membranes are invariably made of deer skin in the parchment
condition and not of tanned skins. The snares or thongs across the heads
are finer and have pieces of wood instead of quills as “rattlers.” The
drumstick is a piece of reindeer horn cut as before described; or else,
as if to add to the din, a gun-cap box is pierced through from side to
side and a few pebbles or shot placed within. A stick is then inserted
in the hole through the box and the whole covered with buckskin to
prevent separation of the lid and box. This makes a distracting noise.

  [Illustration: FIG. 153.--Rattle, Nenenot.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 154.--Target, reindeer, buck.]

  [Illustration: FIG. 155.--Target, reindeer, doe.]

Rattles for the children (Fig. 153) are made of a hoop of wood bent to a
circular form and covered with two heads or membranes. Within it are
placed a few pebbles or shot, to produce a rattling sound when the
membranes are dry. A cord attached to the circumference enables the
rattle to be suspended from the tent-pole in front of the child for
whose amusement it is intended. Other toys are made for the children,
but they were not easy for us to obtain. Pl. XLIII represents a doll,
dressed in a woman’s full suit of clothes. The boys amuse themselves by
shooting with blunt arrows at images of reindeer, bucks, does, and
fawns, cut out of flat boards stuck up in the snow (Figs. 154, 155).




During the long winter nights or during the periods of cold or inclement
weather in which the Indians may not venture out, they sit around the
fire and relate stories intended for the instruction as well as
entertainment of the younger people. The older men have a great stock of
these stories, and many of the women are noted for their ability in
entertaining the children, who sit, with staring eyes and open mouth,
in the arms of their parents or elders.

The following stories came to me directly and not through the medium of
another white person, and probably I am the only white person who has
heard some of them. I have endeavored to give them as nearly in the form
of the original as the differences between the English and the Indian
languages will permit.

_Story of the wolverene and the brant._--A wolverene calling all the
birds together addressed them thus: “Do you not know that I am your
brother? Come to me and I will dress you in feathers.” After having
dressed them up he made wings for himself and said: “Now, brothers, let
us fly.” The brant told the wolverene, “You must not look below while we
are flying over the point of land when you hear a noise below. Take a
turn when we take a turn.”

The first turn they took the wolverene did not look below, but at the
second turn they took, when they came over the point of land, the animal
looked below when he heard the noise of the shouting Indians and down he
came like a bundle of rags.[2]

  [Footnote 2: When the Indians perceive a flock of these brant
  they make a loud clamor, which frightens the birds so much that
  they lose their senses, fall to the ground and are thus killed.
  These birds are only seen in the spring migrations and then in
  great multitudes, while in the fall it is rare to see even a
  single individual, as they have a different return route than in

All the Indians ran up to him and exclaimed “There is a brant fallen
down.” One of the old Indian women got hold of him and began to pluck
his feathers off, then to disembowel him. She of course smelled the
horrible stench and exclaimed, “This goose is not fit to eat as it is
already rotten!” She gave the carcass to one of the children to throw
away. Another old woman came up and inquired, “Where did you throw the
brant goose to? How could it be rotten? It is not long since it was
killed.” The former old woman replied to her, “Go and see, if you do not
believe.” She went and found nothing but the dead wolverene.

_Story of the wolverene._--A wolverene was running along the seashore
and perceived a number of geese, brant, ducks, and loons sitting in the
water a short distance off. The wolverene addressing them said, “Come
here, brothers. I have found a pretty bees’ nest. I will give it to you
if you will come on shore and have a dance.” All the birds went on land.
The wolverene said, “Let us have a dance and I will sing. Shut your eyes
and do not open them until we are done dancing.” He began to sing,
“A-ho´u-mu-hou-mu´-mu´-hŭm´.” The last word was so often repeated
(accompanied with the act of the wolverene snipping off the heads of the
birds) that the loon opened one eye and saw the headless ducks kicking.
The loon ran to the water and exclaimed, “Our brother has killed us!”
The wolverene ran after the loon but the loon dived under the water and
came up a distance off and cried out, “A ho ho ho ho ho ho!” The
wolverene screamed, “Hold your tongue, you red-eyed fowl.” The wolverene
returned to where the ducks had been killed; plucked their feathers off
and cleaned them; put them into a large kettle and boiled them.

While attending to the cooking he saw a whisky-jack (Us´ ka tcon)
(_Perisoreus canadensis_) flying about. The wolverene took a firebrand
and threw it at the bird, exclaiming, “You will be telling on me, you
long-tongued bird!” The jay flew away and told the Indians that “Our
brother (wolverene) has killed a lot of ducks and has them cooked,”
adding, “I think he is sleeping. I’ll show you where he is if you will
come.” The Indians replied, “We will go, for we are very hungry.” They
went and found the wolverene asleep alongside the pot. The Indians ate
all of the meat of the ducks. After they had finished the meat they put
the bones back into the kettle and went away. The wolverene awakened
after a time, took his dish and said to himself, “Now, I shall have my
dinner.” He poured all the broth into his dish and found nothing but the
bones remaining. In his surprise he said, “Surely, I have been sleeping
a long time; the meat is all boiled away.” The jay told him that he had
told the Indians. The wolverene said, “Why did you tell? you stupid
bird; I was keeping a nice piece of fat for you.[3] You will not, now,
get it for your impudence.”

    [Footnote 3: The jay is well known to be particularly fond of
    fat of any kind, hence the tempting morsel withheld was a source
    for future reflection.]

_The deer and the squirrel._--A reindeer called all the mammals and
birds together and announced that he would give names to all of them.
When he came to name the squirrel he inquired of the little creature
what name it would prefer. The squirrel replied that it would like to
have the same name as the black bear. The reindeer smiled and informed
the squirrel that it was too small to have the name of the bear. The
squirrel began to cry and wept so long that his lower eyelids became

_The young man who went to live with the deer._--A young man one morning
told his old father that he had dreamed the night before that a deer had
asked him to come and live with them. The old father replied, “That is a
good sign; you will kill many deer after that dream.” The young man went
away to hunt, and while out he saw a large herd of deer. A young doe
from the band ran up toward him, and he was about to fire at her when
she said to him, “Do not fire, for my father has sent me to you. Please
put up your arrows.” She came nearer and informed him that her father
had sent her to ask him to come and live with the deer forever.

The young man inquired, “How could I live with you when it is upon deer
that I live? I live in a tent and can not live outside. I can not live
without fire. I can not live without water.” The doe replied, “We have
plenty of fire, water, and meat; you will never want; you will live
forever. Your father will never want, as there will be enough deer given
to him.” The man consented to go with them. The doe pointed to a large
hill and said, “That is our home.” She told him to leave his deerskin
mantle, snowshoes, and arrows on the ground, but to keep the bow. As
they were walking along they came to a big valley. She informed him that
that was their path. The two went toward the steep hillside and found
the ground to be covered with deer. Some of the deer were frightened
when they saw the man coming, and started to run. The doe’s father said
to the frightened deer, “Do you not pity the poor Indians who have to
hunt for their living while we do not?” When the young man and the doe
came up, the father of the doe addressed the young man, asking if he was
hungry. The man replied, “Yes.” The father then gave him a piece of nice
meat and some fat. After the man had finished eating the father
inquired, “Is your father also hungry?” The son replied, “Yes.”

The old buck informed the young man that they would give the son’s
father some deer to-morrow. After the young man had slept out one night
his father, in the morning, went out to look for his son, but found only
his mantle, snowshoes, and arrows, which had been cast aside the day
before, and also found the tracks in the valley leading to the home of
the deer under the hill. The old man returned to his tent and told the
other Indians that his son had gone away to live with the deer. The old
man then said, “Let us make snares and we will yet take him, as he can
not run as fast as the deer.” The Indians prepared a number of snare
nooses and went to the valley to set them among the bushes on the path.
The father of the young doe saw what was going on in the valley and told
the rest, “Let us go and give the old man some deer.” He told the young
man to come with them. The man replied that he could not accompany them,
as he would be left behind in no time while they were running. The old
buck instructed the young man to keep among the rest of the deer and he
would not be left behind them. All the deer then went out to the valley.
The young man kept among them; and as they were going through the bushes
he heard the shouts of the Indians who were concealed behind them. The
deer saw the snares and some of the animals fell into the nooses and
were caught. The remainder, with the young man, were soon beyond the
snares. The Indians began to kill the deer which had been taken in the
nooses, and when they had finished they found they had not captured the
young man. They consulted together and decided to search among the
tracks of the escaped deer to ascertain whether his foot-prints were
among them. They found his track and also the mark of his bow as he had
dragged it along in the snow.

The young man’s father then said, “Let him go if he thinks he is able to
live with the deer;” and the people returned to their tents.

_The wolf’s daughter going to seek her lover._--An old mother wolf one
morning said to her daughter, “You must go and look for your lover or
else we shall all starve to death, as your brothers can not kill any
deer.” The daughter inquired of her mother, “Who is my lover?” The
mother replied, “The otter is your lover. He lives in the water. If you
go to the narrows of the lake you will find him.” The daughter said she
would go. So early in the morning she started off, and as she was going
along the shore of the lake she saw an open hole in the ice, and in the
water the otter was sitting. The wolf went up to the otter, but the
otter swam away and was going to dive, when the wolf said, “Do not dive
and go away. My mother says you are my lover.” The otter asked, “How can
I be your lover when I live in the water?” The wolf replied, “You can
live on the land as well as in the water.” The otter answered back,
“I will not live on the land.” The wolf retorted, “You will have to live
on the land, and if you do not come out I shall smother you in the
water.” The otter said, “You can not smother me, for I have a number of
holes made in the lake ice.” The otter dove into the water and
disappeared. The wolf began to howl dismally when the otter vanished.
The wind began to blow and drifted the snow furiously. The snow fell
into the otter’s breathing holes and filled them with slushy snow, which
soon froze and completely stopped all the holes in the ice but one where
the wolf was sitting. This hole was kept clear of snow and ice by the
wolf scraping it out as fast as it collected. Soon she heard the otter
going to the holes for breath, but when he came near the hole where the
wolf was sitting she could hear him snuffing for air, and she stood with
open jaws ready to seize him when he should appear. The otter was nearly
exhausted, so the wolf went off a little distance, and the otter came up
to the surface of the water nearly out of breath. He crept out of the
water and rolled himself in the dry snow to take the water off of his
coat of fur and exclaimed to the wolf, “I will live with you; I will
live with you.” The wolf then addressed her lover and said, “Did I not
tell you I would smother you?” The otter did not reply to this, but
asked her, “Have you got a piece of line? Give it to me, and I will go
to catch some fish for you if you will go and prepare a tent.” The wolf
drew out a piece of fishing line and handed it to the otter. The otter
went down into the same hole in the ice whence he had come. He was gone
some time, and in the meantime the wolf was busy making the tent, which
was completed before the otter returned. Soon after, however, the otter
came back to the hole with a long string of fish which he had killed and
had them all strung on the line. He left the string of fish in the hole
in the ice with one end of it fastened to the ice. The otter rolled
himself in the snow to remove the water from his fur, and then went to
the tent to tell his wife to go and get the fish which he had left in
the hole in the ice. The wolf went and hauled up the line, which was
full of fish, and began to devour so many that soon she could scarcely
move. She hauled the remainder of the fish home to the tent.

The otter was sleeping when she returned. She proceeded to clean the
fish and put on a large kettle full of the fish to boil for supper.
She then crept into bed with her husband, and the next morning she was
delivered of a young otter and a young wolf. After the father and mother
had taken their breakfast the latter sat with her head hanging down and
seemed to be in a miserable mood. The otter inquired of the wife wolf,
“What is the matter with you that you sit so quietly?” The wolf
answered: “I wish I had some deerskins with which to make clothing for
the children. How nicely I should dress them!” The otter replied: “Open
the door and I will show you where I get the deer.” It was yet early,
and the otter went away to seek the deer. The otter saw a band of thirty
deer, but had no gun with which to kill them, so he frightened them,
and as they were running away he sprang at them each, and jumped through
them from end to end. He killed all of them in this manner and then
rolled in the snow to cleanse himself. After that was done he wended his
way home, and on arriving informed his wife (for it was then a little
after sunset) that on the morrow she should go to bring home the deer he
had killed, adding that she could follow his track, and thus find them.
The wife had a big pot of fish cooked for him when he returned, and when
he had finished his supper he went to bed. As soon as the wife suspected
her husband to be asleep she went after the deer, and by hauling four at
a time she soon had them all brought, and laid them before the tent.
When that was finished she went to bed. In the morning the otter told
her to get up and make a fire, as she would have to go for the carcasses
of the deer which he had killed the day before. The wife replied:
“I have already brought them all home.” The otter asked her: “How could
you bring them home in the dark?” The wife answered: “Look out through
the door if you do not believe me.” The otter looked and saw the thirty
deer all piled up before the door. He turned and looked at his wife, but
made no remark. The wolf asked him: “Why do you look at me, so hard?”
The otter said: “I was wondering how you could get them home in such a
short time.” The wolf said: “Come, and take your breakfast, for you will
have to help me skin the deer.” After they had finished eating their
breakfast they began to skin the deer, and soon had them done. The wolf
told her husband to make a stage or scaffold for the meat, adding that
she would clean the skins. The otter prepared the stage, which in a
short time was completed. The meat was placed on the stage and the skins
hung up to dry around the tent. They then went in to take their supper.
The wife was not in a talkative mood, and soon went to bed. The next
morning the wolf hung her head down, and the otter seeing her again in
such mood, inquired what was the matter with her that she should be so
quiet. The wolf replied: “I am thinking of my poor father and mother and
brothers; I suppose they will all be starved to death. My old father
told me to tell you to put a mark on the middle of the lake so they
would know where I am.” The otter went to the middle of the lake and
erected a pile as a mark by which the wolf’s relations should know it.
The brothers of the otter’s wife were on the hill looking for the mark
set up by their sister’s husband, and when they saw it they exclaimed:
“Our sister has saved us! our sister has saved us!” and ran back to
their old father’s home to give him the joyful intelligence that they
had seen the mark put up by the husband of their sister. The old wolf
then told his family that they would go and seek their sister and
daughter to live with her and her husband. They all went to the hill by
the lake, and from the top of it they saw the mark, and from it they
followed the track of the otter until they saw the tent in the edge of
the woods. They exclaimed: “There is our sister’s tent, for the
deerskins are hanging outside.” They raised such a joyful shout at the
prospect before them, that the noise frightened some young otters (for
the family had now become larger) which were playing outside. The little
ones scampered in and hid themselves behind their father’s back. The
father inquired, “What is the matter, that you are so frightened?” The
little ones replied: “We are running from the Hunger” (for that was the
name they applied to the wolves). The mother replied: “Perhaps they see
my father, mother, and brothers coming.” The otter told his wife to go
out and see. She complied, and when she opened the door they saw a row
of gaunt wolves; nothing but skin and bones. The newcomers immediately
fell to, and began to devour the meat which was on the stage. The
otter’s wife remonstrated, and said: “Do not be so greedy; my husband is
not a stingy man. I take my meals when he is sleeping, and pretend not
to eat much during the day.” They all went into the tent and the otter
soon went to bed. When they thought he was asleep, they began to eat all
the raw meat and fish, and soon finished it. In the morning when the
otter had awakened, he remarked to his wife: “I think your brothers will
make a fool of me.” The wife asked: “What makes you think so?” The otter
replied: “They look at me so hard, that I do not know where to turn my
eyes.” After breakfast the otter and his wolf brothers went away to look
for deer. They soon came upon a band of them, and the otter told the
wolves to go and kill them. The wolves ran after the deer, but got only
one of them. After the deer were frightened by the wolves, the otter
sprang after the deer and soon killed every one of them in the same
manner he had killed the others. He then cleaned himself in the dry snow
and returned home. The wolves had started for the tent before the otter,
so when the latter returned they asked the otter: “How many deer did you
kill?” The otter replied: “I killed all that were in the band,” adding,
“In the morning you will have to go for the deer.” So everything was got
ready for an early start and they all retired to bed. When they awakened
in the morning, one of the wife’s brothers said to another: “Look at our
otter brother; he has a white mouth.” The otter turned to his wife and
said to her: “Did I not tell you that your brothers would make a fool of
me?” The otter then took his two otter children in his arms, and told
his wife that she would have to make her living as best she could, as he
would not live with her any more, that he was going away to leave her.
He darted off to the lake, and disappeared under the ice, and was never
seen again.

_The devil punishing a liar._--A bear (mackwh) had two young cubs which
she did not want to let know that summer had come, but kept them in the
den and would not let them go out. The young ones continually inquired
if the summer had come, and repeated the question every time the mother
returned from the outside. She invariably answered, “No.” Some days
after she fell asleep, when she had returned from one of her trips, and
while sleeping her mouth opened wide. The young ones said to each other:
“Surely the summer is come, for there are green leaves in our mother’s
mouth.” The mother had told her children how beautiful was the summer
time, how green the trees, how juicy the plants, and how sweet the
berries; so the cubs, impatient, while longing for summer that they
might enjoy what was outside of their den, knew by the leaves in their
mother’s mouth that she had deceived them. The older cub told the
younger that they would slip out at the top of the den and go out while
their mother was yet sleeping. They crept out and found the weather so
fine and the surroundings so pleasant that they wandered some distance
off by the time she wakened from her sleep. She ran out and called
loudly for her children, seemingly surprised, and exclaimed: “My sons,
the summer has come; the summer has come.” The cubs hid when they heard
their mother’s voice. She called to them until nightfall. The older cub
said to his brother: “I wish the devil (A-qan´) would hear her and kill
her for telling us the summer had not come, and keeping us in the house
so long when it was already pleasant outside.”

The mother bear soon screamed to her sons: “The devil has heard me and
is killing me.”

The cubs heard the devil killing their mother with a stone, pounding her
on the head.

They became frightened and ran-away.

_A wolverene destroys his sister._--A wolverene having wandered far,
for several days without food, suddenly came upon a bear. The former,
feeling very hungry, conceived the plan of destroying his larger prey by
stratagem. The wolverene cautiously approached the bear and exclaimed:
“Is that you, sister?” The bear turned around and saw the wolverene, but
in a low tone, which the wolverene did not hear, said to herself: “I did
not know that I had a brother,” so ran quickly away. The wolverene
continued to scream: “Come here, sister, our father has sent me to look
for you. You were lost when you were a little girl out picking berries.”
Thus spoken to, the bear approached the supposed brother, who informed
her that he knew of a place, on the hill there, where a lot of nice
berries were ready for eating, saying: “Do you not see the berries
growing on that hill, sister?” The bear answered: “I cannot see so great
a distance.” So the two went up the hillside where the berries grew.
When they arrived at the place, and it was some distance off, the bear
asked: “How is it that your eyes are so good?” The wolverene replied:
“My father mashed a lot of cranberries into my eyes and put me into a
sweat house.” The bear said: “I wish my eyes were as good as yours.” The
wolverene answered: “I will make your eyes as good as mine if you will
gather a lot of cranberries while I prepare a sweat house.” The bear
went to gather berries while the other prepared the house during her
absence. The wolverene selected a stone having a sharp edge, which she
concealed under the moss in the sweat house, while she procured a larger
stone for the pillow.

After the sweat house was completed the wolverene cried out: “Sister,
the sweat house is finished!” The bear returned, bringing a quantity of
berries. They both went into the sudatory, whereupon the wolverene
instructed the bear to lie with her head upon the stone pillow, while he
prepared the crushed berries to put in her eyes. He then said to her:
“Now, sister, do not move; you may find the berries will hurt the eyes
and make them very sore, but they will be better soon.” The wolverene
filled the bear’s eyes full of the sour berries, which made her exclaim:
“Brother, they are making my eyes very sore.” The wolverene answered:
“You will find them the better for that. After I get your eyes full of
the berries I will blow my breath on them.” After the eyes of the bear
were full of berries the wolverene said: “You are too good to be a
sister,” so he struck her on the head with the sharp-edged stone and
cleft her skull between the eyes and killed her.

_The rabbit and the frog._--One day a rabbit was wandering among the
hillsides, and at a short distance from him he observed a tent belonging
to some Indians. Being timid he crept up to the side of the tent and
peeped through a small hole, and saw inside of it a frog sitting near
the fire. The rabbit seeing no danger accosted the frog thus: “Brother,
what are you doing?” The frog replied: “I am playing with the ashes. My
brothers have gone off hunting and I am here as I have a very sore leg
and can not go far.” The rabbit rejoined, “come with me and I will keep
you?” The frog answered, “I can not walk as my leg is too sore.” The
rabbit offered to carry the frog on his back. The rabbit took the frog
and giving him a toss threw him on his back and said: “This is the way I
will carry you.” So they started for the home of the rabbit, where, upon
arriving, the rabbit placed the frog inside of the tent while the former
went out to look for something to eat. While seeking food the rabbit
suddenly spied a smoke curling from among the willows which grew along
the branch of the creek. He became frightened and started to run
homeward exclaiming, “I have forgotten my crooked knife and I must go
quickly to get it.” (This part, or what the rabbit says to himself, is
sung as a song; with an attempt at imitation of the rabbit’s voice.) The
rabbit ran hurriedly home and sprang into the tent, whereupon the frog
observing the fright of the other inquired, “Brother, what is the matter
that you are so excited?” The rabbit answered, “I saw a large smoke.”
“Where is it?” inquired the frog. The rabbit replied, “It is from among
the willows along the creek that runs near by.” The frog began to laugh
at the foolish fear of the rabbit and answered him that the smoke
proceeded from the lodge of a family of beavers, and taunted the rabbit
for being afraid of such a timid creature as a beaver when they are good
to eat, adding that his own (frogs) brothers often carried him to the
beavers’ houses to kill them when they were out of food; although his
brothers could never kill any of them.

The rabbit was pleased to hear the frog was such a great hunter, and
gladly offered to carry the frog to the lodge of the beavers that some
food could be procured. The frog accepted the offer and was carried to
the creek bank. The rabbit then built a dam of stakes across the stream
and below the lodges in order that the beavers should not escape. The
frog then directed the rabbit to break into the top of the lodge so that
the frog might get at the beavers to kill them. While the rabbit was
breaking into the lodge of the beavers, the frog purposely loosened some
of the stakes of the weir below in order to allow the beavers to escape,
hoping that the rabbit would become angry at him for so doing. When the
rabbit saw what mischief the frog had done, he took the frog and roughly
shoved him under the ice into the water. This did not harm the frog as
it could live under water as well as on land, but the rabbit did not
know that, so he believed he had drowned his brother the frog. The
rabbit then returned to his home, regretting he had acted so harshly and
began to cry for his brother. The frog in the meanwhile, killed all of
the beavers and tied them together on a string, then slowly crawled to
the rabbit’s home with his burden on his back. The frog crept up to the
tent but was afraid to enter so he began to play with the door flap of
the tent to make a noise to attract the attention of the rabbit within.
Finally he cried out to the rabbit, “Brother, give me a piece of fire
for I am very cold.” The rabbit did not recognize the tired, weak voice
of his brother frog, and, afraid lest it be some enemy endeavoring to
entice him from his home, picked up a piece of dead coal which had no
fire on it and flung it outside. The frog then said, “Brother, there is
no fire on this piece and I can not cook my beavers with it.” The rabbit
then ran out quickly and tenderly carried the frog inside, and
immediately the latter began to moan and appear to suffer so much that
the rabbit inquired what was the matter and asked if the beavers had
bitten him. The frog said, “No, it was you who gave me such a hard push
that you have hurt me in the side.” The rabbit assured the frog that the
injury was unintentionally caused. The frog then directed the rabbit to
prepare and cook the beavers. The rabbit went out to fetch them but he
began to eat and did not stop until they were all devoured. After having
finished eating them the rabbit went for a walk. Ere long he noticed a
huge smoke curling from the farther end of a valley and becoming greatly
frightened he exclaimed, “I have forgotten my crooked knife and I must
go quickly to get it.” He dashed into his door in a terrible state of
mind. The frog coolly inquired, “What is the matter that you are so
scared?” The rabbit said, “I have seen a great smoke at the farther end
of the valley through which the creek runs.” The frog laughed loudly at
his fear and said, “They are deer; my brothers often had me to kill
them, as they could not kill any, when we had no meat.” The rabbit was
delighted at that so he offered to carry the frog toward the place.
The frog directed the rabbit to make a snowshoe for the one foot of the
frog. The rabbit soon had it made and gave it to his brother. The frog
then said, “Carry me up towards the smoke.” The rabbit slung the frog on
his back and away they went in the direction of the deer. The frog then
told the rabbit to stand in one place and not to move while he (the
frog) would work at the deer, and when he had finished he would call him
up to the place.

The frog killed all the deer in a very short time, skinned them, and
stuck the head and neck of one of the deer into the snow so that it
would be looking toward the place whence the rabbit would come. The frog
then took the lungs of one of the deer and put it out to freeze. The
cold turned the lungs white as tallow. The frog shouted for his brother
rabbit to come quickly. When the rabbit came bounding near he saw the
eyes of the deer’s head staring at him in a queer manner; he was so much
alarmed that he exclaimed to the frog, “Brother, he sees me.” The frog
smiled and said, “I have killed him; he is dead; come on; I have a nice
piece of fat saved for you.” (It was the frozen lungs of the deer.) So
he gave the rabbit a large piece and told him to eat it all and quickly,
as it was better when frozen and fresh from the deer’s back. The rabbit
greedily swallowed large portions and did not observe the deception.
After a time they built a lodge or tent for the night. Some few hours
after the tent was made the frozen deer lungs which the rabbit had eaten
began to thaw and it made the rabbit so violently ill that he vomited
continually the entire night. The frog had served him this trick as a
punishment for having eaten all of the beaver meat two days before.

_The wolverene and the rock._--A wolverene was out walking on the
hillside and came upon a large rock. The animal inquired of the rock,
“Was that you who was walking just now?” The rock replied, “No, I can
not move; hence I can not walk.” The wolverene retorted that he had seen
it walking. The rock quickly informed the wolverene that he uttered a
falsehood. The wolverene remarked, “You need not speak in that manner
for I have seen you walking.” The wolverene ran off a little distance
and taunted the rock, challenging it to catch him. The wolverene then
approached the rock and having struck it with his paw, said, “See if you
can catch me.” The rock answered, “I can not run but I can roll.” The
wolverene began to laugh and said, “That is what I want.” The wolverene
ran away and the rock rolled after him, keeping just at his heels.
The animal finally began to tire and commenced to jump over sticks and
stones until at last the rock was touching his heels. At last the
wolverene tripped over a stick and fell. The rock rolled over on him and
ceased to move when it came upon the hind parts of the wolverene. The
animal screamed, “Get off, go away, you are hurting me; you are breaking
my bones.” The rock remained motionless and replied, “You tormented me
and had me run after you, so now I shall not stir until some one takes
me off.”

The wolverene replied, “I have many brothers and I shall call them.” He
called to the wolves and the foxes to come and remove the rock. These
animals soon came up to where the rock was lying on the wolverene and
they asked him, “How came you to get under the rock?” The wolverene
replied, “I challenged the rock to catch me and it rolled on me.” The
wolves and foxes then told him that it served him right to be under the
rock. They endeavored, after a time, to displace the rock but could not
move it in the least. The wolverene then said, “Well, if you cannot get
me out I shall call my other brother, the lightning and thunder.” So he
began to call for the lightning to come to his aid. In a few moments a
huge dark cloud came rushing from the southwest, and as it hurried up it
made so much noise that it frightened the wolves and foxes, but they
asked the lightning to take off the coat of the wolverene but not to
harm, his flesh. They then ran away. The lightning darted back to gather
force and struck the rock, knocking it into small pieces and also
completely stripped the skin from the back of the wolverene, tearing the
skin into small pieces. The wolverene stood naked, but soon began to
pick up the pieces of his coat and told the lightning, “You need not
have torn my coat when you had only the rock to strike.”

The wolverene gathered up his pieces of coat and said he would go to his
sister, the frog, to have her sew them together. He repaired to the
swamp where his sister dwelt and asked her to sew them. She did so. The
wolverene took it up and told her she had not put it together properly
and struck her on the head and knocked her flying into the water. He
took up the coat and went to his younger sister, the mouse. He directed
her to sew his coat as it should be done. The mouse began to sew the
pieces together and when it was done the wolverene carefully examined
every seam and said, “You have sewed it very well; you will live in the
tall green grass in the summer and in grass houses in the winter.” The
wolverene put on his coat and went away.

_Creation of people by the wolverene and the muskrat._--As a wolverene
was wandering along the bank of a river he saw a muskrat swimming in the
edge of the water. He accosted the latter animal with the inquiry,
“Who are you? Are you a man or a woman?” The muskrat answered, “I am a
woman.” The wolverene informed her that he would take her for a wife.
The muskrat replied, “I live in the water; how can I be your wife?” The
wolverene told her that she could live on the land as well as in the
water. The muskrat went up on the bank to where the wolverene was
standing. They selected a place and she began to prepare a home for
them. They ate their suppers and retired. Soon after a child was born.
The wolverene informed his wife that it would be a white man and father
of all the white people. When this child was born it made a natural
exit. In due time a second child was born which the wolverene decreed
should be an Indian and the father of their kind. This child was born
from its mother’s mouth. After a time a third child was born, and the
wolverene announced it to be an Eskimo and father of its kind. This
child was born _ab ano_. In the natural course of events a fourth child
was born, and the wolverene decided it to be an Iroquois and father of
its kind. This child was born from its mother’s nose. After a time a
fifth child was born and the wolverene decreed it should be a Negro and
father of its kind. This child was born from its mother’s ears. These
children remained with their parents until they grew up. Their mother
then called them together and announced to them that they must separate.
She sent them to different places of the land, and, in parting, directed
them to go to the white men whenever they were in need of anything,
as the whites would have everything ready for them.

_Origin of the whitish spot on the throat of the marten._--A man had a
wife whom a marten fell in love with and endeavored to possess. Whenever
the man would go away from his home the marten would enter, sit by the
woman’s side, and endeavor to entice her to leave her husband and go to
live with him. One day the man returned unexpectedly and caught the
marten sitting by the side of his wife. The marten ran out. The man
inquired of his wife what the marten wanted there. The woman replied
that the marten was striving to induce her to desert him and become his
own wife.

The next time the man went off he told his wife to fill a kettle with
water and put it on the fire to boil. The man went outside and secreted
himself near the house. He soon saw the marten go into the house.

The man stole quietly to the door of the house and listened to the
marten, which was talking to his wife. The man sprang into the house and
said: “Marten, what are you doing here, what are you trying to do?” The
man seized the kettle of hot water and dashed it on the breast of the
animal. The marten began to scratch his burning bosom and ran out into
the woods; and because he was so severely hurt he now keeps in the
densest forests, away from the sight of man.

_The Indian and his beaver wife._--One day an Indian was hunting along
the bank of a stream and in the distance saw a beaver’s house. In a
moment he perceived a beaver swimming toward him. He drew up and was on
the point of shooting it when the animal exclaimed, “Do not shoot,
I have something to say to you.” The Indian inquired, “What is it you
have to say?” The beaver asked him, “Would you have me for a wife?”
The Indian replied, “I can not live in the water with you.” The beaver
answered, “You will not know you are living in the water, if you will
follow me.” The Indian further remarked that he could not live on
willows and other woods like a beaver. The beaver assured him that when
eating them he would not think them to be willows. She added, “I have a
nice house to live in.” The man replied, “My brother will be looking for
me if I come in and he will not know where I am.” The beaver directed
the man to take off his clothing and leave them on the bank and to
follow her. The Indian did as he was instructed. As he was wading
through the water he did not feel the water touching him; so they
presently began to swim and soon reached the home of the beaver. The
beaver told him as she pointed ahead, “There is my home, and you will
find it as good and comfortable as your own tent.” They both entered and
she soon set before him some food which he did not recognize as willow
bark. After they had slept two nights his brother became alarmed and
went to search for him, and soon found his track. In following it up his
brother came to where he had left his clothing on the bank of the

The brother was distressed at finding such things, so went sorrowfully
back to the tent thinking that his brother had been drowned, and so told
the other Indians when he arrived. With a heavy heart he went to bed and
in the morning he awakened and told his wife that he had dreamed his
brother was living with a beaver. He told his wife to make some new
clothing for the lost brother as he would go and seek the haunts of the
beavers to discover his brother. The man occupied himself in making a
pair of snowshoes, while the wife prepared the clothing. The next day
she had the clothing done and he directed her to make them into a small
bundle as he would start on the search early the next morning. Other
young men desired to accompany him on the search, but were advised to
remain at home as their presence would prevent him from reaching the
beaver’s retreat. Early in the morning he started off, taking the
clothes and snowshoes with him. After some time he found the place where
the beaver had her house and in which he suspected his brother to be
living. He went to work to make a dam across the stream so as to
decrease the depth of water around the beaver’s house. The wife had
borne two children to the husband by this time, and when the father had
seen the water going from their house he told the children: “Your uncle
is coming and he is certain to kill you.” The water had soon gone down
sufficiently to enable the man to cross the stream to where the house
was situated.

On arriving there he began pounding at the mud walls. The father told
the children to go out or else the house would fall on them. The man
outside quickly killed the two young ones. The wife knew she would soon
be killed also, and after they had heard the deathblows given to their
children she said to her husband, “If you are sorry that I am killed and
ever want to see me again, keep the right hand and arm of my body; take
off the skin and keep it about you.” In a few minutes the brother had
begun again to tear out the sides of the lodge. The husband told her to
go out, and that his love for her would make him keep her right hand.
She then went out and was quickly killed with a stick. When this was
done and the husband had heard it all he was very sorry for his wife.
Again the man began to destroy the rest of the house and soon had a
large hole in the wall of one side. The husband then said to him, “What
are you doing? You are making me very cold.” The brother replied,
“I have brought some warm clothing for you and you will not feel cold.”
“Throw them in,” said the husband, “for I am freezing.” He put on the
clothes, and while he was doing it the brother noticed the hairs which
had grown on the other’s back, but said nothing about it. The husband
then sat in his house until the other was near freezing to death. The
brother then said to him, “Come with me; you can not stay here.” The
husband demanded, as a condition of returning, that the brother should
never say anything to him to make him angry if he went back. The brother
promised him not to do so. They then started to return, the brother
taking the bodies of the children and mother on his back, the husband
walking ahead. They soon arrived at the home of their people. The
brother threw down the beavers and directed his wife to skin them. The
husband of the beaver asked for the right hand and arm of the beaver who
had been his wife. It was given to him. He got one of the other women to
skin it, and told her to dry the skin and return it to him. Three nights
after their return to their people a great many beavers were killed and
a large kettle full of flesh was boiled for food. The people pressed the
runaway brother to eat of the flesh of the beavers. He informed them
that if it was the flesh of a female beaver he would not eat it. They
told him that the flesh of the male beavers was all finished long ago.
They forced him to eat a large piece of meat, and when he had swallowed
it they gave him more of it. The second piece was no sooner down his
throat than a large river gushed from his side. The Indian jumped into
the river, while the rest ran away in terror and, as these latter looked
down the river, they saw the man swimming by the side of his wife who
had been a beaver.

_The venturesome hare._--A hare, which had lost his parents, lived with
his grandmother. One day, feeling very hungry, for they were extremely
poor, he asked his grandmother if he could set a net to catch fish. The
old woman laughed at the idea of a hare catching fish, but to humor him,
she consented, for she was indulgent to him because he was her only
charge and looked forward to the time when he should be able to support
her by his own exertions, and not to rely on the scanty supplies which
she was able to obtain. These were very meager, as she was infirm, and
dreaded exposure. She then told him to go and set the net, but added
that she had no fire to cook them with, even if he should catch any. The
hare promised to procure fire if he caught the fish. He went to set the
net in a lake where he knew fish to be plentiful. The next morning he
went to the net and found it to be so full of fish that he was unable to
take it up. He lifted one end and saw there was a fish in every mesh of
the net. He shook out some of the fish and then drew out the net. Part
of the fish were buried, and a large load taken home. He put the fish
down outside of the tent, and went in. He told the old woman to clean
the fish and that he would go across the river to the Indians’ tent and
get the fire with which to cook them. The old woman was speechless at
such proposed rashness, but as he had been able to catch so many fish
she refrained remarking on his contemplated project of obtaining fire in
the face of such danger. While the old woman was cleaning the fish he
went back after the net which he had put out to dry on the shore of the

He folded it up, placed it under his arm, and ran to the edge of the
river which was far too wide to jump over. He used his cunning and
assembled a number of whales. These animals came puffing up the stream
in obedience to his command. He ordered them to arrange themselves side
by side across the stream so that he could walk across on their backs.
He most dreaded the Indians, but jumped into the water to wet his fur.
This being done he sprang from one whale to another until he was safe on
the opposite shore. He then laid down in the sand and bade the whales to
disperse. Some Indian children soon came playing along the sandy bank
and saw the hare lying there. One of the children picked up the hare and
started home with it. When the boy arrived and told how he had obtained
the hare he was directed to put it in the iron tent (kettle) where there
was a bright fire crackling.

The child put down the hare, upon which an old man told the boy to kill
the hare. The hare was terribly frightened, but opened a part of one eye
to ascertain whether there was any place of exit beside the door. In the
top of the tent he observed a large round hole. He then said to himself:
“I wish a spark of fire would fall on my net.” Instantly the brands
rolled and a great spark fell on the net and began to burn it. The hare
was afraid of the fire, so he sprang out of the hole in the apex of the
tent. The Indians saw they had been outwitted by a hare, and began to
shout and pursue the animal, which attained such speed that when he came
to the bank of the river he had not time to recall the whales. He gave
an extraordinary leap and cleared the entire expanse of the water. He
examined the net and found the fire smouldering. On arrival at his own
home he said to his grandmother: “Did I not tell you I would get the
fire?” The old woman ventured to inquire how he had crossed the river.
He coolly informed her that he had jumped across.

_The spirit guiding a child left by its parents._--An Indian and his
wife had but one child, which was so infested with vermin that when the
parents contemplated going to the tents of some distant friends the
father advised the mother to leave the child behind. The next morning
after the mother had taken down the tent the little boy asked her
“Mother, are you not going to put on my moccasins?” the mother replied,
“I shall put them on after I have put on my snow-shoes.” The little boy
said, “Surely you are not going to leave me!” She said, “No;” but took
hold of her sled and started off. The little boy cried out, “Mother, you
are leaving me,” and endeavored to overtake her in his bare feet;
but the mother soon was out of sight. The little boy began to cry and
retraced his steps to the tent place. There he cried until the spirit of
a dead man came to him and asked, “Where is your mother?” The boy
replied, “She has gone away and left me.” “Why did she leave you?” asked
the old man. “Because I was so covered with lice,” replied the boy. The
spirit said it would remove all of the lice but three. So it began to
pick them off. After this was done the spirit asked, “Where did your
mother go?” The boy pointed out her track. The spirit then said to the
boy, “Would you like to go to your mother?” The boy answered, “Yes.” The
spirit put the boy on his back and started in the path made by the sled
of his mother. After a while they came to a tree and in looking at it
the boy saw a porcupine sitting among the branches. The boy greatly
desired to have the animal. So he said, “Grandfather, I wish you would
kill the porcupine.” The old man answered, “It will make too much smoke
for me to kill it.” After a time they came across a hare which the boy
again desired to have. To this the man assented. So he put the boy down
in the snow and soon caught the hare and killed it. It was now becoming
dark, so they made their camping place for the night. The spirit gave
the boy the hare and told him to cook it. After the meat was cooked the
boy asked the old man what parts of the animal he preferred. The old man
said “Give me the lungs and kidneys.” The boy gave him those parts and
consumed the remainder himself. They laid down to sleep and in the
morning they again started on the sled track. About noon they came to
the tents of the Indians, and among them was the tent of the father and
mother of the little boy. The spirit placed the boy down on the outside
near the door of the mother’s tent and told him to go in. The boy
entered and saw his father and mother sitting near the fire. The mother
in astonishment said, “Husband, is this not our little boy whom we
deserted at our late camp?” The husband asked the boy, “Who brought you
here?” The little boy answered, “My grandfather.” The mother inquired,
“Who is your grandfather?” The father asked, “Where is he now?” The boy
replied, “He is sitting outside.” The father asked his wife to look
outside and see if any one was there. The woman did so and informed him
that “I see someone sitting there, but I do not know who it is.” The
spirit replied, “You should call me somebody when you are _no one_ to
leave your child to perish.” The husband directed his wife to invite the
old man into the tent.

The spirit declined to enter. The father then asked the son to tell him
to come in. The boy went out and conducted the old man within the tent.
The latter seated himself across the fire (this is intended to mean
opposite the door but on the other side of the fire). They slept in the
tent that night, and when the little boy awakened he found all the
people preparing to snare deer. The people asked the little boy to
accompany them. He did so, and when he was ready to start he asked the
old man what part of the deer he should bring home for him. The old man
replied that he would enjoy the lungs better than any other part. The
boy promised to bring a quantity for him on his return in the evening.
Toward evening the boy returned loaded with choice bits for the old man
who had conducted him to his father and mother. While outside of the
tent he called to the old man, saying that he had brought home some food
for him. Hearing no reply he entered the tent, and not seeing the man he
inquired of his mother where the person was. The mother announced that
he had departed, but did not know where he had gone. It was late,
but the boy resolved to rise early and follow his track. He was up at
daybreak, and finding the track followed it until he observed the spirit
crossing a large lake which was frozen over. The boy cried out to the
old man to wait for him. The spirit awaited his approach. The boy said
to him, “Why did you go away when I had promised you some choice food?”
The spirit replied that it could not dwell among living people, as it
was only a spirit and that it was returning to its abode. The old man
advised the boy to return to his people. The boy did so, but the next
morning the desire to see the good old man seized the boy, and again he
started to find him. The other people then tied the boy to a tree and he
soon forgot his benefactor.

_Fate of two Indian men._--Two Indian men who had gone off for the fall
and winter’s hunt were living by themselves. They were very unsuccessful
in procuring furs and food, so that when the depths of winter had
approached and the cold was intense they resolved to seek the camp of
their friends. They were provided with nothing but bows and arrows.
The next morning they started off and tramped all day without seeing a
living thing. They made their camp and lamented they had no food. They
finally prepared to sleep, when one of them remarked to the other,
“To-night I shall dream of porcupines.” They slept, and in the morning
the one related that he had seen a lot of porcupines around the tent
while he was dreaming. They determined to proceed, but the one finally
thought if they would stop there for the day and succeeding night they
would have all the porcupine meat they would want. They remained there
that day, and in the middle of the night they were aroused by a noise
which proved to be porcupines gnawing the bark from the tent poles. The
one man said, “Slip out and kill some with a stick;” but added, “Go out
in your bare feet.” He went out barefooted and killed two or three, and
dashed back into the tent with his feet nearly frozen. He stuck his feet
into the hot ashes and told the other man to bring in the animals. The
other man did so, and began to prepare the flesh for cooking. They ate
one of the porcupines, and by daylight were ready to begin their
journey. They went idly along, shooting their arrows in sport at
anything they could see. They continued this amusement until near
sunset, when one exclaimed, “My arrow has struck something; see, it is
moving;” The other replied, “What can it be, when it is sticking only in
the snow?” The other said he would try and find out what it was. He
cautiously examined, and found when he began to dig it out that the
arrow had entered the den of a bear. So they scratched away the snow and
soon saw a long, black hair sticking out of the hole. He jumped back and
exclaimed, “It is some sort of animal with black hair.” The other
replied, “Let us try and get it out. It may be good to eat.” They
finally drove the bear out and soon killed it. They began to skin it,
which was soon done. One of the men then said, “It is too big and ugly
to eat; let us leave it.” The other, however, cut off a large piece of
fat and put it on the sled. They then prepared their camp, and when
morning came they started off and traveled all day. When night came they
made their camp and soon had a huge fire burning. One of the men hung
the piece of fat over the fire and the oil soon dripped into the fire.
It created such a nice smell that one of them said, “Let us taste the
fat; it may be good to eat.” They tasted it and found it so good that
they rated each other soundly for being so foolish as to leave such nice
flesh so far behind them. They resolved to return for it. So they
returned for the carcass of the bear, which was far behind them, and as
it had tasted so good they determined to lose no time in starting. They
went immediately, although it was now dark and very cold. They came to
the place where it had been left and discovered that the wolves and
foxes had eaten all the meat, leaving nothing but the bones. They were
very angry, and began to lay the blame each on the other for having left
it. They regretted they had left such meat for wolves and foxes. They
determined to proceed to where they had camped the third time. On the
way they became very thirsty, and, stopping at a creek to drink, they
drank so long that their lips froze to the ice of the water hole,
and they miserably perished by freezing.

_The starving wolverene._--On the approach of winter a wolverene, which
had been so idle during the summer that he had failed to store up a
supply of provisions for himself, his wife, and children, began to feel
the pangs of hunger. The cold days and snowstorms were now at hand. The
father one day told his wife that he would go and try to discover the
place where his brothers, the wolves, were passing the winter and from
them he would endeavor to procure some food. The wife desired him not to
remain away long, else the children would starve to death. He assured
her that he would be gone no longer than four days, and made
preparations to start early on the succeeding morning. In the morning he
started and continued his journey until near night-fall, when he came to
the bank of a river. On looking at the ice which covered its surface he
descried a pack of wolves ascending the river at a rapid rate. Behind
these were four others, which were running at a leisurely gait. He soon
overtook the latter group, and was perceived by one of these old wolves,
which remarked to the others, “There is our brother, the wolverene,
coming.” The animal soon joined the wolves and told them that he was
starving, and asked for food. The wolves replied that they had none, but
that the wolves in advance were on the track of some deer and would soon
have some. The wolverene inquired where they would camp for the night.
They told him to continue with them on the track of the others until
they came to a mark on the river bank. The wolves, accompanied by the
wolverene, continued their way until one of the old wolves called
attention to the sign on the bank and proposed they should go up to it
and await the return of the others. They went up and began to gather
green twigs to make a clean floor in the bottom of the tent. This was no
sooner done than the young wolves (the hunters) returned and began to
put up the tent poles. The old wolves said they themselves would soon
have the tent covering in place. The wolverene was astonished at what he
saw and wondered whence they would procure the tenting and fire. The old
wolves laughed as they observed his curiosity, and one of them remarked,
“Our brother wonders where you will get the tent cover from.” The
wolverene replied, “I did not say that; I only said my brothers will
soon have up a nice and comfortable tent for me.” The wolves then sent
him off to collect some dry brush with which to make a fire. When he
returned the tent was already on the poles. He stood outside holding the
brush in his arms. One of the wolves told him to bring the wood inside
the tent. He entered and gave the brush to one of the young wolves (the
leader of the hunters). The leader placed the brush in position to
create a good fire, and while that was being done the wolverene wondered
how they would start the fire. One of the old wolves remarked, “Our
brother wonders where and how you will get the fire.” He made no reply,
as one of the young wolves (the leader) took up a kettle and went
outside to get some snow to melt for water, and returned with it full of
snow. He set the kettle down and sprang quickly over the pile of brush
and it started into a blaze in an instant. It was now an opportunity for
the wolverene to wonder whence should come the supply of meat to boil.
One of the old wolves said, “Our brother wonders where you will get some
meat to cook for supper.” One of the young wolves went out and brought
in a brisket of deer’s meat. As soon as the wolverene saw the meat he
asserted that he did not wonder about the source of the supply of meat,
but that he only wished there was some meat ready for cooking. The meat
was cut up and placed in the kettle and when it was ready it was served
out. The choicest portions were selected for the wolverene and placed
before him with the injunction to eat all of it. He endeavored to
consume it, but the quantity was too great even for him. He, having
finished his meal, was about to place the remainder on one of the poles
when a wolf, observing his action, told him not to place it there or
else the meat would change into bark. He then laid it down on a piece of
clean brushwood and when he suspected the eyes of the wolves were not
turned toward him he stealthily inserted the portion of meat between the
tenting and the pole. The wolves saw his action and in a few minutes the
wolverene became very sleepy and soon retired. One of the wolves
carefully displaced the meat from the pole, where the wolverene had put
it, and thrust in its stead a piece of bark. In the morning when the
wolverene awakened his first thought was of the remnant of food. He
reached up for it and found nothing but the piece of bark. The wolves
were on the alert and one of them said, “Did I not tell you it would
change into bark if you put the meat in that place?” The wolverene hung
his head and answered, “Yes,” and again laid down to sleep. By the time
he awakened the wolves had a second kettle of meat cooked. They desired
the wolverene to arise and eat his breakfast. The leader told him to
hasten with his meal, as he had discovered some fresh deer tracks. The
wolverene thought he would watch how they broke camp and see where they
put the tentings. He went off a few steps and while his back was turned
the tent disappeared and he failed to discover where it was secreted.
The animals then started off, the young ones taking the lead while the
four old ones and the wolverene followed leisurely behind. After they
had crossed the river the wolverene began to wonder where they would
halt for the night. One of the old wolves told him they must follow the
track of the leader and they would come to the sign made for the site of
the camp. They continued for the entire day, but just before sundown
they came across the bones of a freshly killed deer from which every
vestige of meat had been removed, apparently eaten by wolves; so the
wolverene thought he would stand a poor chance of getting a supper if
that was the way they were going to act. The party continued on the
track and soon came upon the mark for the tent site. The wolverene was
glad to rest, but sat down and began to look ahead in the distance for
the returning hunters. After a few minutes he looked around and saw the
tent standing there. The wolves then sent the wolverene for dry brush,
while they gathered green branches for the tent floor. He brought so
small a quantity that it would not suffice. The young wolves returned at
the same time and they directed him to again procure some brush. When he
returned he found they had stripped all the fat off of the deer meat,
although, he had not seen them bring any when they returned, and placed
it around the inside edges of the tent. The brush was put down and again
the leader jumped over it and a bright, crackling fire started up.
The wolves then said to themselves in a low tone of voice: “Let us go
outside and see what our brother will do when he is left alone with the
fat.” They went outside and immediately the wolverene selected the
nicest and largest piece of fat and began to swallow it. The wolves at
the same moment inquired of him: “Brother, are there any holes in the
tent cover?” His mouth was so full, in his haste to swallow the fat,
that it nearly choked him. They repeated their inquiry and the wolverene
gasped out the answer, “yes.” The wolves then said: “Let us go inside.”
The wolverene sprang away from the fat and sat down by the fire. They
put on a large kettle of meat and soon had their supper ready. They gave
the wolverene all the fattest portions they could find. Having eaten so
much of the frozen fat he became so violently ill, when the hot food
melted the cold fat in his stomach, that he vomited a long time, and was
so weak that he became chilly and shivered so much that he could not
sleep. He asked for a blanket, but one of the wolves placed his own
bushy tail on the body of the wolverene to keep him warm. The wolverene
shook it off and exclaimed: “I do not want your foul-smelling tail for a
blanket.” So the wolf gave him a nice and soft skin blanket to sleep
under. When he awakened he announced his intention to return to his
family, as they would soon be dead from hunger. One of the old wolves
directed the younger ones to make up a sledload of meat for the
wolverene to take home with him. The wolf did so, but made the load so
large and long that the wolverene could not see the rear end of the
sled. When it was ready they told him of it, and, as he was about to
start, he requested they would give him some fire, as he could not make
any without. The leader asked how many nights he would be on the journey
homeward. He answered, three nights. The wolf told him to lie down in
the snow. He did so and the wolf jumped over his body three times, but
strictly enjoined upon him not to look back at the sled as he was going
along. The wolverene promised he would comply with his instructions.
After the animal had started and got some little distance from the camp
of the wolves he thought of the peculiarly strange things he had
witnessed while among those animals; and, to test himself, he concluded
to try the method of making a fire. He stopped, gathered a quantity of
dry brush and placed it as he had seen the wolves arrange it. He then
sprang over it and a huge blaze gave evidence of the power within him.
He was so astonished that he resolved to camp there. He melted some snow
and drank the water and retired to rest, without having looked at the
sled. The next morning he started early and made his camp before sunset,
as he was very tired. He gathered some brush and made the fire by
jumping over the pile of fuel. His supper was only some melted snow
which he drank and retired. In the morning he started to continue his
journey homeward and still had not seen the sled which he was dragging.
As he was ready to start he was so confident of his ability to create
fire that he threw away his flint and steel. He traveled all day until
toward sunset he was so fatigued that he concluded to make his camp for
the night. He was so elated with his newly acquired faculty of making
fire that he eagerly gathered a great quantity of dried twigs and
branches, until a large heap was before him. He jumped over it, and
turned round to see the flames creep up and watch the sparks fly. There
was not a sign of a blaze or a spark to meet his gaze. He again jumped
over it, and again, until he was so exhausted that he could not clear
the top of the pile, and at last he knocked the top of it over, as his
failing strength did not enable him to avoid it. The only thing left for
him to do was to return for his flint and steel, which he had so
exultingly thrown aside. The animal berated himself soundly for having
done such a silly trick. Not having seen the sled he was surprised to
find how quickly he regained the site of the camp of the previous night.
Having recovered his flint and steel he returned, and soon had a fire
started; but it was now near daylight. He resolved to start on his
journey as soon as he had some water melted for a drink. He began to
think how quickly he had made the trip for his flint and steel, and
concluded that the great length of the sled had been purposely made to
cause him unnecessary fatigue, as it could not be so very heavy, or else
that he must be extraordinarily strong. He determined to examine it,
and did so. He could not see the farther end of the load. He flattered
himself that he was so very strong, and concluded to continue his
journey. He attempted to start the sled, and found he could not move it
in the least. He upbraided himself for permitting his curiosity to get
the better of his sense. He removed a portion of dry meat and a bundle
of fat, and made them into a load to carry on his back. He placed the
remainder on a stage, and was about ready to start homeward to his wife
and children, whom he believed must be by this time nearly dead from

He put the pack of meat on his back and set out. That evening he arrived
at his home, and as soon as his wife heard him her heart was glad. He
entered and informed the family that he had brought home a quantity of
meat and fat, and had procured so much as to be unable to carry it all
at once. His wife begged him to fetch her a piece of meat, as she was
nearly starved. He went out and brought in a large piece of fat. The
wife devoured such a quantity of it that she became very ill, and
suffered all through the night. In the morning the wolverene stated he
would return for the meat which he had stored away the previous day.
He started in the early morning, so as to return by daylight.

As soon as the wolverene looked upon the sled loaded with meat the spell
was broken. One of the old wolves ordered the young wolves to go and
destroy the meat and fat which the wolverene had left on the stage. They
eagerly set out on the track of the sled, and soon saw the staging where
the wolverene had stored the remainder of the food. When they came up to
it they fell to and devoured all but a few scraps of it. The wolves then
went away, and in a few hours the wolverene returned. He saw what had
happened and exclaimed: “My brothers have ruined me! My brothers have
ruined me!” He knew it had been done because he had looked back at the
sled, although strictly enjoined upon not to do so under any
circumstance. He gathered up the fragments which the wolves had left and
returned home. When he arrived there he informed his wife that his
brothers had ruined him, because they had eaten all the meat which he
had stored away while out hunting.

_The starving Indians._--A band of Indians, who had neglected to store
away a supply of food for a time of scarcity, were upon the point of
starvation. An old man who lived at a little distance from the camping
place of the band, had wisdom to lay by a good store of dry meat and a
number of cakes of fat, so that he had an abundance while the other
improvident people were nearly famished. They applied to him, begging
for food, but they were refused the least morsel. One day, however, an
old man came to him asking for food for his children. The man gave him a
small piece of meat. When the man’s children ate this food they began to
cry for more. The mother told her little boy to stop crying. He
persisted in his clamor until his mother asked him: “Why do you not go
to the old U´ sets kwa nĕ po?” (the name means One whose neck wrinkles
into folds when he sits down). This old man heard the mother tell her
child to go to him, and muttered to himself, “That is just what I want.”

The little boy went to the old man’s tent door, and lifting aside the
flap, said: “I want to come in.” He went in and the old man addressed
the boy by his own name, saying: “What do you want, U´ sets kwa nĕ po?”
in such a kindly voice that the boy felt assured. The boy said: “I am
very hungry and want some food.” The old man inquired in an astonished
voice: “Hungry? and your meat falling down from the stage?” The old man
bade the boy sit down, while he went out to the stage and selected some
choice portions and brought them into the tent and gave them to the boy.
The old man then asked the boy if he had a sister. The boy said that he
had a father, mother, and one sister. After the boy had finished eating,
the old man directed the boy to come with him and see the meat stages.
They went out and the old man said: “Now, go home and tell your father
that all of this food will belong to you if he will give me his
daughter.” The little boy went home and repeated what the old man had
said. The father signified his willingness to give his daughter in
marriage to the old man. The boy returned to the old man and stated that
his father was willing to give away his daughter. The old man
immediately went out, took some meat and fat from the stage, and then
cooked three large kettles of food. When this was done he selected a
suit of clothing for a man and two suits for women. He placed the nicer
one of the latter near his own seat, and the other two suits directly on
the opposite side of the fireplace (the place of honor in the tent). He
then told the little boy to call all the Indians, adding: “There is your
father’s coat, your mother’s dress, and your sister’s dress. Tell your
parents to sit where they see the clothing,” pointing to the clothes
intended for them, and the sister to sit near the old man, pointing to
his own place. The boy ran out and apprised the people, together with
his own relations. The boy returned to the old man’s tent before the
guests arrived. The boy’s father came first, and the boy said: “Father,
there is your coat.” The mother then entered, and the boy said: “Mother,
there is your dress.” The sister then entered, and the boy pointed to
the dress, saying: “Sister, there is your dress.” All the other Indians
then came in and seated themselves. They took two kettles of meat and
broke the fat into pieces and feasted until all was consumed. The old
man helped his wife, her father, mother, and brother to the contents of
the other kettle. When all the food was finished the old man said to the
boy, “U´ sēts kwa nĕ po, go and set your deer snares.” The old man went
with him to find a suitable place. They could find only the tracks of
deer made several days previously. They, however, set thirty snares and
returned home. The next morning they all went to the snares and found a
deer in each one. The people began to skin the deer and soon had a lot
of meat ready for cooking. They began to feast, and continued until all
was done. By this time a season of abundance had arrived.


  AMULETS, Eskimo                                                201
  ---- of northern Indians                                       275
  AMUSEMENTS, Eskimo                                             254
  ---- of northern Indians                                       320
  ANIMAL life of the Ungava district                             174
  ANIMISM among northern Indians                                 273
  ARCHERY, Indian                                                313
  ARROW, Eskimo                                                  246
  ----, Nenenot                                                  312
  ARTS, Eskimo                                                   259
  ----, Nenenot                                                  297
  ATHLETICS, Indian                                              321
  AURORAS, Eskimo myths concerning                               266
  ---- of the Ungava district                                    173
  AWLS, Nenenot                                                  318

  BALL used in primitive football                                257
  BASKETS, Birch-bark among the Nenenot                          301
  BATHS, Use of ----                                             300
  BEAR of the Ungava district                                    174
  BEAVER, Chase of the                                           316
  ----, Myths concerning                                         339
  BELIEFS, Eskimo                                                196
  ----, Mortuary                                                 192
  BIRCH-BARK canoes, Nenenot                                     304
  ----, Use of, for baskets                                      301
  BIRDS carved in ivory by the Eskimo                            260
  ---- of the Ungava district                                    175
  BOATS, Eskimo                                                  235
  BOOTS, Eskimo                                        179, 205, 217
  BOW cases, Eskimo                                              247
  ----, Eskimo                                                   246
  ----, Nenenot                                                  312
  BOWLING among the Eskimo                                       257
  BRANT, Myths concerning                                        327
  BURIAL among northern Indians                                  271

  CALENDAR, Eskimo                                               202
  CANNIBALISM among the Eskimo                                   187
  CANOES, Nenenot                                                304
  CARD games among the Eskimo                                    255
  CARVING, Eskimo                                                260
  CEREMONIAL connected with puberty                              208
  CHASE, Methods of the                                     277, 316
  ----, Usages connected with the                                274
  CHECKERS among northern Indians                                323
  CHILDBIRTH among northern Indians                              271
  CHILDHOOD, Customs relating to                                 190
  CHILDREN, Condition of, among northern Indians                 269
  ----, Eskimo myths concerning                                  265
  ----, Naming of                                                190
  CLIMATE of the Ungava district                                 172
  CLOTHING of northern Indians                              208, 281
  COINS, Use of, among the Eskimo                                212
  COMBS, Nenenot                                                 319
  CONJURING among northern Indians                          193, 274
  COOKING among northern Indians                            233, 280
  COSTUME, Eskimo                                                208
  ----, Nenenot                                                  289
  COURTSHIP among the Eskimo                                     188
  CREATION myths                                                 338
  CREE Indians, Northern relatives of                            267
  CUP-AND-BALL among Northern Indians                       255, 323
  CURLING among the Eskimo                                       257
  CUSTOMS, Indian domestic              178, 183, 185, 205, 275, 299
  ----, Mortuary                                                 191

  DEER hunting, Eskimo                                           249
  ----, Myths concerning                                    201, 328
  DEERSKIN, Use of                                          284, 299
  DICE, Primitive game of                                        178
  DIFFERENTIATION of labor among Indians                         271
  DISEASES of the Eskimo                                         187
  DIVORCE, Eskimo                                                189
  DOG whip, Eskimo                                               244
  ----, Habits of the Eskimo                                225, 245
  ----, Use of                                              241, 309
  DOLLS, Eskimo                                             197, 258
  DOMINOES, Primitive game of                                    257
  DREAMS, Beliefs concerning                                     200
  ----, Influence of, among northern Indians                     272
  DRUM, Nenenot                                             322, 324
  DUELING among northern Indians                                 271
  DWELLINGS, Indian                                         223, 298

  EFFIGIES, Use of, among the Eskimo                             260
  ESKIMO, Customs of                                             168
  ---- myths                                                193, 195
  ---- of the Ungava district                                    175
  ----, Whale fishing by                                         174
  ETHNOLOGY of the Ungava district                               167

  FESTIVALS, Nenenot                                             322
  Fetichism among northern Indians                          201, 272
  FISH, Use of, for food                                         280
  FISH-HOOKS, Nenenot                                            320
  FISHING among the Eskimo                                       204
  FLOATS, Fishing, Eskimo                                        248
  FOLK-LORE, Indian                                         260, 327
  FOOD, ----                                                232, 279
  FOOTBALL among the Eskimo                                      255
  FORT CHIMO, Ethnology of                                       167
  FORT GEORGE, High tides at                                     170
  FOX, Eskimo myths concerning                                   264
  FROG, Myths concerning                                         334
  FURNITURE, Eskimo                                              228
  FURS, Eskimo classification of                                 218
  ---- taken by northern Indians                            177, 181

  GADFLY infesting the reindeer                                  295
  GAMBLING among the Eskimo                                      178
  GAMES, Primitive                                     178, 255, 323
  GEORGE RIVER, Description of                                   169
  Genesis among northern Indians                            261, 336
  GESTURE, Use of, among northern Indians                        183
  GOGGLES, Eskimo                                                222
  GRAVE, Eskimo                                                  192
  GREAT SPIRIT among the Eskimo                                  194
  GRUBS in reindeer skins                                        295
  GUILLEMOTS, Mythic origin of                                   262
  GULLS, ----                                                    263

  HARE, Myths concerning the                                263, 340
  HARNESS, Dog                                                   243
  HARPOON used among northern Indians                       183, 240
  HAWKS, Mythic origin of                                        263
  HEADDRESS, Nenenot                                             286
  HEMATITE, Use of, among northern Indians                       298
  HOUSEHOLD articles, northern                              228, 300
  HOUSES of the Ungava district                                  167
  HUDSON BAY COMPANY, Work of, in the Ungava district            167
  HUDSON BAY TERRITORY, Indians of                          167, 267
  HUNTING among northern Indians        203, 240, 249, 276, 279, 316
  ---- implements                                           238, 246

  ICE pick, Primitive                                            319
  ---- scoop, ----                                               318
  IMPLEMENTS of northern Indians                            252, 317
  INNUIT, Legendary origin of                                    261
  ---- of the Ungava district                                    175
  INTESTINES, Use of, for clothing                               220
  INTOXICANTS, Absence of, among the Nenenot                     304
  ISLANDS, Mythic origin of                                      264
  IVORY carving among the Eskimo                                 260

  JAY, Beliefs concerning the                                    273

  KNIVES of northern Indians                           206, 252, 317
  KOKSOAGMYUT, Description of                                    184
  KOKSOAK RIVER, Description of                                  170
  ----, Ethnology of                                             167

  LABOR, Division of                                             271
  LABRADOR, Ethnology of                                         167
  ----, Myths from                                               264
  LADLES, Nenenot                                                302
  LAMPS, Eskimo                                                  229
  LANGUAGE, Modification of the Eskimo                           176
  LARCH RIVER, Description of                                    171
  LAW, Common, among the Eskimo                                  186
  LEAF RIVER, Description of                                     171
  LEGENDS of northern Indians                               260, 327
  LEGGINGS, Nenenot                                         283, 291
  LICE, Eskimo myths concerning                                  263
  LITTLE WHALE RIVER Indians, Description of                     182
  LODGE, Ceremonies and beliefs respecting                       274
  LONGEVITY among northern Indians                          190, 270
  LOON, Eskimo myths concerning                                  262
  LYNX, Use of, for food                                         279

  MAGIC, Primitive                                               197
  MAMMALS of the Ungava district                                 174
  MARRIAGE among northern Indians                      188, 199, 270
  MARROW, Extraction of                                          278
  MARTEN, Myths concerning                                       338
  MCLEAN, JOHN, cited on Hudson Bay territory                    168
  MEDICINE lodge of northern Indians                             274
  ----, Primitive                                      269, 274, 325
  ----, Thaumaturgic                                             194
  MEMENTOES among northern Indians                               274
  MIGRATION, Eskimo                                              203
  MITTENS of northern Indians                          219, 284, 285
  MOCCASINS, Nenenot                                             284
  MONTAGNAIS of the Ungava district                              181
  MOON, Beliefs concerning                                       265
  MORTUARY CUSTOMS and beliefs                         178, 191, 271
  MOSQUITOES, Mythic origin of                                   264
  MOUSE, Beliefs concerning                                      273
  MURDOCH, JOHN, editor of paper on Ethnology
      of the Ungava district                                     167
  ----, Reference to work of                                     238
  MUSIC among northern Indians                                   322
  MUSKRAT, Myths concerning                                      338
  MYTHOLOGY, Primitive                                      261, 327
  MYTHS of the Eskimo                                            195

  NAMES, Eskimo                                                  200
  ----, Topographic, among the Eskimo                            202
  NASKOPIE Indians, Description of                          183, 267
  NAVIGATION, Eskimo                                             236
  NEEDLE, Nenenot                                                310
  NENENOT Indians, Description of                           183, 267
  NUMERALS, Use of, among the Eskimo                             256

  OIL, Consumption of, among the Eskimo                          233
  ORNAMENTATION of clothing, Nenenot                             283
  OTTER, Myths concerning                                        330
  OWLS, Beliefs concerning                                       273

  PADDLES, Nenenot                                               306
  PAINT Sticks, Nenenot                                          297
  ---- used among northern Indians                               296
  PATERNITY, Indefinite, among Indians                           271
  PECK, E. J., Influence of, on Indians                          182
  PESTLES used among northern Indians                       280, 302
  PIPE, Nenenot                                                  302
  POLYGAMY among northern Indians,                               270
  POPULATION, Eskimo                                             176
  PORTAGE, Method of making, among northern Indians              306
  PTARMIGAN, Hunting of                                          204
  PUBERTY, Ceremonial connected with                             208

  QUIVERS, Eskimo                                                247

  RABBIT, Myths concerning                                       334
  RAVEN, Mythic origin of                                        262
  REINDEER hunting                                          276, 313
  ----, Myths concerning                                         200
  ----, Uses of                                                  276
  RELIGION, Primitive                                            193
  ----, ----, Persistence of                                     179

  SACRIFICE, Primitive                                           196
  SCAFFOLD burial among northern Indians                         272
  SCRAPERS, Nenenot                                              292
  SEALSKIN, Use of, among northern Indians             221, 232, 292
  SEA PIGEONS, Mythic origin of                                  262
  SEASONS, Recognition of, by Indians                            203
  SENSE development among the Eskimo                             202
  SEWING, Primitive                                         207, 282
  SHAMANISM among northern Indians                          194, 273
  ----, Persistence of                                           179
  SHOES, Eskimo                                                  217
  SINEW, Extraction of                                           251
  ----, Use of, for sewing                                       221
  SKIN clothing, Use of                                          209
  ---- dressing among northern Indians            205, 275, 278, 292
  ---- tents, Eskimo                                             226
  SKINNING, Peculiar method of                                   207
  SKY, Myth concerning                                           266
  SLEDS among northern Indians                              240, 306
  SMOKING among northern Indians                       234, 291, 302
  SMOKING deerskins                                              296
  SNARING among northern Indians                            279, 315
  SNOW goggles, Eskimo                                           222
  ---- houses, Description of                                    223
  ---- shoe, Nenenot                                             308
  ---- ----, Use of, among northern Indians                      311
  ---- shovel, Primitive                                         318
  SNUFF, Use of, among northern Indians                234, 291, 302
  SOAPSTONE, Use of, for utensils                                228
  SOD houses, Eskimo                                             228
  SPEARS, Primitive                                         238, 314
  SPIRIT, Beliefs in                              194, 272, 333, 342
  SPOONS, Nenenot                                           302, 306
  SPRUCE BEER, Effect of, on the Nenenot                         304
  SQUIRREL, Myths concerning                                     328
  STARS, Beliefs concerning                                      266
  STATURE of the Eskimo                                     177, 184
  STONE houses, Eskimo                                           228
  STORIES of northern Indians                               260, 327
  STRENGTH, Physical, of the Eskimo                              268
  SUICIDE among the Eskimo                                       186
  SUN, Beliefs concerning                                        266
  SUPERSTITION among northern Indians                       179, 272
  SWALLOW, Myths concerning                                      263
  SWEAT houses, Nenenot                                          300
  SWIMMING board, Nenenot                                        320

  TALISMAN, Eskimo                                               197
  TANNING, Primitive                                             294
  TARGETS, Nenenot                                               326
  TATTOOING, Eskimo                                              207
  TEAMS, Dog                                                     241
  TENTS of northern Indians                            226, 273, 298
  THROWINGSTICKS, Eskimo                                         239
  TIDES in the Ungava district                                   170
  TOBACCO, Use of, among northern Indians              234, 291, 302
  TOBOGGANS, Nenenot                                             307
  TOPOGRAPHY of the Ungava district                              168
  TOYS, Nenenot                                                  326
  TRADING among northern Indians                                 275
  TRANSPORTATION among northern Indians                          304
  TRAPPING among northern Indians                           204, 280
  TROPHIES among northern Indians                                274
  TURNER, LUCIEN M., Memoir by, on ethnology
      of the Ungava district                                     167

  UNGAVA BAY, Description of                                     171
  ----, Ethnology of                                             167
  UNGAVA DISTRICT                                                267
  UTENSILS, Cooking, among northern Indians                 228, 300

  VEGETATION of the Ungava district                         169, 173
  VENISON, Preservation of                                       277
  VIABILITY among northern Indians                               269
  VIOLIN, Eskimo                                                 259

  WEAPONS of northern Indians                               246, 312
  WHALE fishing, Indian                           174, 203, 247, 314
  WHIP, Eskimo dog                                               244
  WHITE people, Legends concerning                               261
  WIND, Beliefs concerning                                       267
  WOLF, Myths concerning                                    263, 330
  WOLVERINE, ----                                      327, 333, 345
  ----, Trapping of                                              281
  WOMEN, Condition of Indian                                269, 320
  ----, Myths concerning                                         264
  WRESTLING, Indian                                              321

       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *

_Errors and Inconsistencies_

Names and words in indigenous languages may be written as separate
syllables (Sû hi´ nĭ myut), in hyphenated form (Sû-hĭ-nĭ-myut), or as
unified words (Sûhĭnĭmyut)--sometimes within the same paragraph. These
forms have not been regularized.

Inconsistent formatting of figure captions, with or without dash, and
inconsistent casing of Index entries, is unchanged.

  “They [the Nenenot] assert that their original home was in a country
  to the west [of the Ungava peninsula], north of an immense river,
  and toward the east lay an enormous body of salt water. The former
  was supposed to be the St. Lawrence river and the latter to be
  Hudson bay.”

This passage is obviously wrong but has been left unchanged rather than
guess at the author’s intent.

Variant spellings (in English):

  wolverine : wolverene
    _spelling changes partway through the article, with almost
    no overlap; the Table of Contents generally does not match the
    main text_
  spirt _used consistently_
  carcases (plural) _more common that “carcasses”_
  Innuit _always written with double nn_

Typographical Errors

List of Illustrations

  Figs. 107, 145
    [_missing text is not an error: these Figures have no caption_]
  31. Eskimo man’s deerskin coat (back)  211  [311]

Main Text

  The current is sluggish at the upper end  [is / is _at line break_]
  quite small and scarcely capable of being ascended  [scarely]
  to keep the Indian in wholsome dread  [_spelling unchanged_]
  plural of innuk, “a person”  [innuls]
    [_this is probably a transcription error: script “k” misread
    as “ls”_]
  less than a dozen individuals journey to Fort Chimo  [indiviuals]
  during a period of great scarcity of food  [or food]
  and after trial are cast off
    [_printing error: “ft” in “after” invisible_]
  When the father becomes superannuated  [superanuated]
  CHILDREN.  [_printing error: “CHIL”  invisible_]
  If death result from natural causes
    [_text unchanged: may be intentional (subjunctive)_]
  no amount of slaughter can really decrease the numbers  [realy]
  women acquire a wondrous dexterity
    [wonderous (_spelling “wondrous” occurs elsewhere_)]
  Wooden baskets are made in a similar fashion. A strip of spruce wood
  is bent nearly circular.
    [_reading conjectural: text reads “fashion / strip of”
    at line break without empty spaces_]
  FOOD AND ITS PREPARATION.  [_final . missing_]
  the oomiak, from its flat bottom
    [_text unchanged: spelled “umiak” everywhere else_]
  a dish-shaped piece of reindeer horn  [reinder]
  the other end of the piece may be of a different design  [diferent]
  the slovenly wife and what befel her.  [_spelling unchanged_]
  without much deliberation and repeated consultation  [delibation]
  both sexes come to the post of Fort Chimo to trade  [Chino]
  A species of gad fly  [_spaced as shown_]
  the tops of the better class of footwear  [betterclass]
  needles are used for the different kinds of netting
    [_text has “dif-/erent” at line break_]
  fastened by a whipping of sinew  [fastended]
  drum beaten in rhythm to the monotonous chant  [rythm]
  I am not aware that wagers are laid upon its issue.  [wages]
  lest the blows cause it to split under the strain  [blows, cause]

[Figure Captions]

  FIG. 111.--
  FIG. 129.--
  FIG. 132.--  [_all missing . after number_]

[Missing quotation marks in Nenenot Folklore section:]

  ... do not open them until we are done dancing.”
  “I am playing with the ashes.
  ... and he will not know where I am.”


For comparison purposes, here are some words from the “Koksoagmyut”
section of the article, along with the forms used in modern dictionaries
(Spalding, based in Aivilik, and Schneider, based partly in Ungava).

  myut “literally ‘those that dwell at or in’”:
    suffix _miut_, plural of _miuq_

  --from description of shaman doll
  agówak (part of shaman’s belt):
    _arnguaq_ (charm, amulet)
  ĭnug´-wak, e´nog ang´, inugwak (doll, little man):
    _inunnguaq_: _inuk_ with suffix _nnguaq_ (something that
    resembles X; a toy X)
  kak-cung´-unt “belt of polar-bear skin (kak-cung´-unt)”:
    [[It is unclear whether this word--which is linguistically
    impossible--is intended for the belt or the skin. The word _kauk_
    means the skin of a walrus, or any other thick-skinned animal.]]
  tu-a´-vi-tok “hastener”:
    verb root _tuavik-_
  tung ak; tung wa´gn “the great spirit”:
    _tuurngaq_ (spirit, ghost)

  --from description of “dominoes” game
  [[The two occurrences of ï in this paragraph may be errors for
    ĭ (short i).]]
  Á ma zu´ a lát (name of game)
  “ka miú tik (sled)”
    _qamutiik_ (literally a pair of sled runners, _qamut_)
  “kaiak (canoe), kalé sak (navel), á ma zut (many)”
    _qajaq_, _qalaasiq_, _amisut_
  “a taú sïk (1), má kok (2), pïng a sut (3), si tá mût (4), and
  tá li mat (5)”
    _atausi_, _marruuk_, _pingasut_, _sitamat_, _tallimat_

  --others (in alphabetical order)
  á va tuk “large sealskin float”:
  iglugiak, ig lú ge ak, iglu gheak (snow house):
    may be _igluvigaq_ (snow house, esp. an abandoned snow house)
  iti´vûk “the other, farther, distant side (of a portion of land)”:
  ka sig yak “harbor seal”:
    _qasigiaq_ (ranger or freshwater seal)
  ki lĭn´ĭk “cut, incised”:
    verb root _kiliq-_
  ki´gĭktag´myut “island people”:
  ku-mé-u-tîk “that which removes lice”:
    based on _kumak_ (louse)
  nakvak “meaning ‘found‘”:
    verb root _nagvaaq-_ (to find by accident)
  ohak “often pronounced Okak”:
  pŭnŭk “An instrument termed snowknife”:
  pu-ghu´-tak (dish for oil or food):
  sû hi´ nûk (the sun):
  tass´iyak “like a lake”:
    based on _tasiq_ (lake)
  tá hak (shadow):

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ethnology of the Ungava District, Hudson Bay Territory - Eleventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the - Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1889-1890, - Government Printing Office, Washington, 1894, pages 159-350" ***

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