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´╗┐Title: Houses and House-Life of the American Aborigines
Author: Morgan, Lewis Henry
Language: English
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The following work substantially formed the Fifth Part of the
original manuscript of "Ancient Society," under the title "Growth of
the Idea of House Architecture." As the manuscript exceeded the
limits of a single volume, this portion (Part V) was removed, and
having then no intention to publish it separately, the greater part
of it found its way into print in detached articles. A summary was
given to Johnson's New Universal Cyclopedia in the article on the
"Architecture of the American Aborigines." The chapter on the
"Houses of the Aztecs" formed the basis of the article entitled
"Montezuma's Dinner," published in the North American Review, in
April, 1876. Another chapter, that on the "Houses of the Mound
Builders," was published in the same Review in July, 1876. Finally,
the present year, at the request of the executive committee of the
"Archaeological Institute of America," at Cambridge, I prepared from
the same materials an article entitled "A Study of the Houses and
House Life of the Indian Tribes," with a scheme for the exploration
of the ruins in New Mexico, Arizona, the San Juan region, Yucatan,
and Central America.

With some additions and reductions the facts are now presented in
their original form, and as they will now have a wider distribution
than the articles named have had, they will be new to most of my
readers. The facts and suggestions made will also have the advantage
of being presented in their proper connection. Thus additional
strength is given to the argument as a whole. All the forms of this
architecture sprang from a common mind, and exhibit, as a consequence,
different stages of development of the same conceptions, operating
upon similar necessities. They also represent these several
conditions of Indian life with reasonable completeness. Their houses
will be seen to form one system of works, from the Long House of the
Iroquois to the Joint Tenement houses of adobe and of stone in New
Mexico, Yucatan, Chiapas, and Guatemala, with such diversities as
the different degrees of advancement of these several tribes would
naturally produce. Studied as one system, springing from a common
experience, and similar wants, and under institutions of the same
general character, they are seen to indicate a plan of life at once
novel, original, and distinctive.

The principal fact, which all these structures alike show, from the
smallest to the greatest, is that the family through these stages of
progress was too weak an organization to face alone the struggle of
life, and sought a shelter for itself in large households composed
of several families. The house for a single family was exceptional
throughout aboriginal America, while the house large enough to
accommodate several families was the rule. Moreover, they were
occupied as joint tenement houses. There was also a tendency to form
these households on the principle of gentile kin, the mothers with
their children being of the same gens or clan.

If we enter upon the great problem of Indian life with a
determination to make it intelligible, their house life and domestic
institutions must furnish the key to its explanation. These pages
are designed as a commencement of that work. It is a fruitful, and,
at present, but partially explored field. We have been singularly
inattentive to the plan of domestic life revealed by the houses of
the aboriginal period. Time and the influences of civilization have
told heavily upon their mode of life until it has become so far
modified, and in many cases entirely overthrown, that it must be
taken up as a new investigation upon the general facts which remain.
At the epoch of European discovery it was in full vitality in North
and South America; but the opportunities of studying its principles
and its results were neglected. As a scheme of life under
established institutions, it was a remarkable display of the
condition of mankind in two well marked ethnical periods, namely,
the Older Period and the Middle Period of barbarism, the first being
represented by the Iroquois and the second by the Aztecs, or ancient
Mexicans. In no part of the earth were these two conditions of human
progress so well represented as by the American Indian tribes. A
knowledge of the culture and of the state of the arts of life in
these periods is indispensable to a definite conception of the
stages of human progress. From the laws which govern this progress,
from the uniformity of their operation, and from the necessary
limitations of the principle of intelligence, we may conclude that
our own remote ancestors passed through a similar experience and
possessed very similar institutions. In studying the condition of
the Indian tribes in these periods we may recover some portion of
the lost history of our own race. This consideration lends incentive
to the investigation.

The first chapter is a condensation of four in "Ancient Society,"
namely, those on the gens, phratry, tribe, and confederacy of tribes.
As they formed a necessary part of that work, they become equally
necessary to this. A knowledge of these organizations is
indispensable to an understanding of the house life of the aborigines.
These organizations form the basis of American ethnology. Although
the discussion falls short of a complete explanation of their
character and of their prevalence, it will give the reader a general
idea of the organization of society among them.

We are too apt to look upon the condition of savage and of barbarous
tribes as standing on the same plane with respect to advancement.
They should be carefully distinguished as dissimilar conditions of
progress. Moreover, savagery shows stages of culture and of progress,
and the same is true of barbarism. It will greatly facilitate the
study of the facts relating to these two conditions, through which
mankind have passed in their progress to civilization, to
discriminate between ethnical periods, or stages of culture both in
savagery and in barbarism. The progress of mankind from their
primitive condition to civilization has been marked and eventful.
Each great stage of progress is connected, more or less directly,
with some important invention or discovery which materially
influenced human progress, and inaugurated an improved condition.
For these reasons the period of savagery has been divided into three
subperiods, and that of barbarism also into three, the latter of
which are chiefly important in their relation to the condition of
the Indian tribes. The Older Period of barbarism, which commences
with the introduction of the art of pottery, and the Middle Period,
which commences with the use of adobe brick in the construction of
houses, and with the cultivation of maize and plants by irrigation,
mark two very different and very dissimilar conditions of life. The
larger portion of the Indian tribes fall within one or the other of
these periods. A small portion were in the Older Period of savagery,
and none had reached the Later Period of barbarism, which
immediately precedes civilization. In treating of the condition of
the several tribes they will be assigned to the particular period to
which they severally belong under this classification.

I regret to add that I have not been able, from failing health, to
give to this manuscript the continuous thought which a work of any
kind should receive from its author. But I could not resist the
invitation of my friend Major J. W. Powell, the Director of the
Bureau of Ethnology, to put these chapters together as well as I
might be able, that they might be published by that Bureau. As it
will undoubtedly be my last work, I part with it under some
solicitude for the reason named; but submit it cheerfully to the
indulgence of my readers.

I am greatly indebted to my friend Mr. J. C. Pilling, of the same
Bureau, for his friendly labor and care in correcting the proof
sheets, and for supervising the illustrations. Such favors are very
imperfectly repaid by an author's thanks.

The late William W. Ely, M. D., LL. D., was, for a period of more
than twenty-five years, my cherished friend and literary adviser,
and to him I am indebted for many valuable suggestions, and for
constant encouragement in my labors. The dedication of this volume
to his memory is but a partial expression of my admiration of his
beautiful character, and of my appreciation of his friendship.


ROCHESTER, N. Y., June, 1881




The Gens: organized upon kin; rights, privileges, and obligations of
its members--The Phratry: its character and functions--The Tribe:
its composition and attributes--The Confederacy of Tribes: its nature,
character and functions.



Indian tribes in three dissimilar conditions--Savage tribes--
Partially horticultural tribes--Village Indians--Usages and customs
affecting their house life--The law of hospitality practiced by the
Iroquois; by the Algonkin tribes of lower Virginia; by the Delawares
and Munsees; by the tribes of the Missouri, of the Valley of the
Columbia; by the Dakota tribes of the Mississippi, by the Algonkin
tribes of Wisconsin; by the Cherokees, Choctaws, and Creeks; by the
Village Indians of New Mexico, of Mexico, of Central America; by the
tribes of Venezuela; by the Peruvians--Universality of the usage--It
implies communism in living in large households.



A law of their condition--Large households among Indian tribes--
Communism in living in the household--Long Houses of the Iroquois--
Several families in a house--Communism in household--Long Houses of
Virginia Indians--Clustered cabins of the Creeks--Communism in the
cluster--Hunting bands on the plains--The capture a common stock--
Fishing bands on the Columbia--The capture a common stock--Large
households in tribes of the Colombia--Communism in the household--
Mandan houses--Contained several families--Houses of the Sauks the
same--Village Indians of New Mexico--Mayas of Yucatan--Their present
communism in living--Large households of Indians of Cuba, of
Venezuela, of Carthagena, of Peru.



Tribal domain owned by the tribe in common--Possessory right in
individuals and families to such land as they cultivated--Government
compensation for Indian lands paid to tribe; for improvements to
individuals--Apartments of a house and possessory rights to lands
went to gentile heirs--Tenure of land among sedentary Village
Indians at Taos, Jemex, and Zunyi--Among Aztecs or Ancient Mexicans,
as presented by Mr. Bandelier; in Peru--The usage of having but one
prepared meal each day, a dinner--Rule among Northern tribes--A
breakfast as well as a dinner claimed for the Mexicans--Separation
at meals, the men eating first, and by themselves, and the women and
children afterwards.



Houses of Indian tribes must be considered as parts of a common
system of construction--A common principle runs through all its forms;
that of adaptation to communism in living within the household--It
explains this architecture--Communal houses of tribes in savagery;
in California; in the valley of the Yukon; in the valley of the
Columbia--Communal house of tribes in the lower status of barbarism--
Ojibwa lodge--Dakota skin tent--Long houses of Virginia Indians; of
Nyach tribe on Long Island; of Seneca-Iroquois; of Onondaga-Iroquois--
Dirt Lodge of Mandans and Minnetarees--Thatched houses of Maricopas
and Mohaves of the Colorado; of the Pimas of the Gila--What a
comparison shows.



Improved character of houses--The defensive principle incorporated
in their plan of the Houses--Their joint tenement character--Two or
more stories high--Improved apparel, pottery, and fabrics--Pueblo of
Santo Domingo; of adobe bricks--Built in terraced town--Ground story
closed--Terraces reached by ladders--Rooms entered through
trap-doors in ceilings--Pueblo of Zunyi--Ceiling--Water-jars and
hand mill--Moki pueblo--Room in same--Ceiling like that at Zunyi--
Pueblo of Taos--Estufas for holding councils--Size of adobes--Of
doorways--Window-openings and trap-doorways--Present governmental
organization--Room in pueblo--Fire-places and chimneys of modern
introduction--Present ownership and inheritance of property--Village
Indians have declined since their discovery--Sun worship--The
Montezuma religion--Seclusion from religious motives.



Pueblos in stone--The best structures in New Mexico--Ruins in the
valley of the Chaco--Exploration of Lieut. J. H. Simpson in 1849; of
William H. Jackson in 1877--Map of valley--Ground plans--Pueblo
Pintado and Weje-gi--Constructed of tabular pieces of sandstone--
Estufas and their uses--Pueblos Una Vida and Hungo Pavie--Restoration
of Hungo Pavie--Pueblo of Chettro-Kettle--Room in same--Form of
ceiling--Pueblo Bonito--Room in same--Restoration of Pueblo--Pueblo
del Arroyo--Pueblo Penyasca Blanca--Seven large pueblos and two
smaller ones--Pueblo Alto without the valley on table land on the
north side--Probably the "Seven Cities of Cibola" of Coronado's
Expedition--Reasons for supposition--The pueblos constructed
gradually--Remarkable appearance of the valley when inhabited.



Ruins of stone pueblo on Animas River--Ground plan--Each room faced
with stone, showing natural faces--Constructed like those in Chaco--
Adobe mortar--Its composition and efficiency--Lime unknown in New
Mexico--Gypsum mortar probably used in New Mexico and Central America--
Cedar poles used as lintels--Cedar beams used as joists--Estufas;
neither fire-places nor chimneys--The House a fortress--Second stone
pueblo--Six other pueblos in ruins near--The Montezuma Valley--Nine
pueblos in ruins in a cluster--Diagram--Ruins of stone pueblos near
Ute Mountain--Outline of plan--Round tower of stone with three
concentric walls--Incorporated in pueblo--Another round tower--With
two concentric walls--Stands isolated--Other ruins--San Juan
district as an original centre of this Indian culture--
Mound-Builders probable emigrants from this region--Historical
tribes of Mexico emigrants from same--Indian migrations--Made under
control of physical causes.



Area of their occupation--Their condition that of Village Indians--
Probably immigrants from New Mexico--Character of their earthworks--
Embankments enclosing squares--Probable sites of their houses--
Adapted, as elevated platforms, to Long Houses--High bank works--
Capacity of embankments--Conjectural restoration of the pueblo--
Other embankments--Their probable uses--Artificial clay beds under
grave-mounds--Probably used for cremation of chiefs--Probable
numbers of the Mound Builders--Failure of attempt to transplant this
type of village life to the Ohio Valley--Their withdrawal probably



First accounts of Pueblo of Mexico--Their extravagance--Later
American exaggerations--Kings and emperors made out of sachems and
war-chiefs--Ancient society awakens curiosity and wonder--Aztec
government a confederacy of three Indian tribes--Pueblo of Mexico in
an artificial lake--Joint-tenement houses--Several families in each
house--Houses in Cuba and Central America--Aztec houses not fully
explored--Similar to those in New Mexico--Communism in living
probable--Cortez in Pueblo of Mexico--His quarters--Explanation of
Diaz--Of Herrera--Of Bandolier--House occupied by Montezuma--A
communal house--Montezuma's dinner--According to Diaz--to Cortez--to
Herrera--To H. H. Bancroft--Excessive exaggerations--Dinner in
common by a communal household--Bandelier's "Social Organization and
Mode of Government of the Ancient Mexicans."



Pueblos in Yucatan and Central America--Their situation--Their house
architecture--Highest type of aboriginal architecture--Pueblos were
occupied when discovered--Uxmal houses erected on pyramidal
elevations--Governor's house--Character of its architecture--House
of the Nuns--Triangular ceiling of stone--Absence of chimneys--No
cooking done within the house--Their communal plan evidently
joint-tenement houses--Present communism of Mayas--Presumtively
inherited from their ancestors--Ruins of Zayi--The closed house--
Apartments constructed over a core of masonry--Palenque--Mr.
Stephens' misconception of these ruins--Whether the post and lintel
of stone were used as principles of construction--Plan of all these
houses communal--Also fortresses--Palenque Indians flat-heads--
American ethnography--General conclusions.


FRONTISPIECE. Zunyi Water Carrier.

Fig. 1. Earth Lodges of the Sacramento Valley

Fig. 2. Gallinomero Thatched Lodge

Fig. 3. Matdu Lodge in the high Sierra

Fig. 4. Yukuta Tule Lodges

Fig. 5. Kutchin Lodge

Fig. 6. Ground-plan of Necrohokioo

Fig. 7. Frame of Ojibwa Wig-e-wam

Fig. 8. Dakota Woka-yo, or Skin Tent

Fig. 9. Village of Pomeiock

Fig. 10. Village of Secotan

Fig. 11. Interior of House of Virginia Indians

Fig. 12. Ho-de-no-sote of the Seneca-Iroquois

Fig. 13. Ground-plan of Seneca-Iroquois Long-House

Fig. 14. Bartram's ground-plan and cross-section of Onondaga

Fig. 15. Palisaded Onondaga Village

Fig. 16. Mandan Village Plot

Fig. 17. Ground-plan of Mandan House

Fig. 18. Cross-section of Mandan House

Fig. 19. Mandan House

Fig. 20. Mandan Drying-Scaffold

Fig. 21. Mandan Ladder

Fig. 22. Pueblo of Santo Domingo

Fig. 23. Pueblo of Zunyi

Fig. 24. Room in Zunyi House

Fig. 25. Pueblo of Wolpi

Fig. 26. Room in Moki House

Fig. 27. North Pueblo of Taos

Fig. 28. Room in Pueblo of Taos

Fig. 29. Map of a portion of Chaco Canyon

Fig. 30. Ground-plans of Pueblos Pintada and Wejegi

Fig. 31. Ground-plans of Pueblos of Una Vida and Hungo Pavie

Fig. 32. Restoration of Pueblo Hungo Pavie

Fig. 33. Ground-plan of Pueblo Chettro Kettle

Fig. 34. Interior of a Room in Pueblo Chettro Kettle

Fig. 35. Ground-plan of Pueblo Bonito

Fig. 36. Room in Pueblo Bonito

Fig. 37. Restoration of Pueblo Bonito

Fig. 38. Ground-plan of Pueblo del Arroyo

Fig. 39. Ground-plan of Pueblo Peuasca Blanca

Fig. 40. Ground-plan of the Pueblo on Animas River

Fig. 41. Stone from Doorway

Fig. 41a. A finished block of Sandstone (for comparison with Fig. 41)

Fig. 42. Section of Cedar Lintel

Fig. 43. Outline of Stone Pueblo on Animas River

Fig. 44. Pueblos at commencement of McElmo Canyon

Fig. 45. Outline plan of Stone Pueblo near base of Ute Mountain

Fig. 46. Ground-plan of High Bank Pueblo

Fig. 47. Restoration of High Bank Pueblo

Fig. 48. Ground-plan and sections of house, High Bank Pueblo

Fig. 49. Mound with artificial clay basin

Fig. 50. Side elevation of Pyramidal Platform of Governor's House

Fig. 51. Governor's House at Uxmal

Fig. 52. Ground-plan of Governor's House, Uxmal

Fig. 53. Ground-plan of the House of the Nuns

Fig. 54. Section of room in House of the Nuns

Fig. 55. Ground-plan of Zayi

Fig. 56. Cross-section through one apartment




In a previous work I have considered the organization of the
American aborigines in gentes, phratries, and tribes, with the
functions of each in their social system. From the importance of
this organization to a right understanding of their social and
governmental life, a recapitulation of the principal features of
each member of the organic series is necessary in this connection.
[Footnote: "Ancient Society" or "Researches in the Lines of Human
Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization." Henry
Holt & Co. 1877.]

The gentile organization opens to us one of the oldest and most
widely-prevalent institutions of mankind. It furnished the nearly
universal plan of government of ancient society, Asiatic, European,
African, American, and Australian. It was the instrumentality by
means of which society was organized and held together. Commencing
in savagery, and continuing through the three subperiods of barbarism,
it remained until the establishment of political society, which did
not occur until after civilization had Commenced. The Grecian gens,
phratry, and tribe, the Roman gens, curia, and tribe find their
analogues in the gens, phratry, and tribe of the American aborigines.
In like manner the Irish sept, the Scottish clan, the phratra of the
Albanians, and the Sanskrit ganas, without extending the comparison
further, are the same as the American Indian gens, which has usually
been called a clan. As far as our knowledge extends, this
organization runs through the entire ancient world upon all the
continents, and it was brought down to the historical period by such
tribes as attained to civilization. Nor is this all. Gentile society
wherever found is the same in structural organization and in
principles of action; but changing from lower to higher forms with
the progressive advancement of the people. These changes give the
history of development of the same original conceptions.


Gens, [Greek: genos], and gattas in Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit have
alike the primary signification of kin. They contain the same
element as gigno, [Greek: gignouas], and ganaman, in the same
languages, signifying to beget; thus implying in each an immediate
common descent of the members of a gens. A gens, therefore, is a
body of consanguinei descended from the same common ancestor,
distinguished by a gentile name, and bound together by affinities of
blood. It includes a moiety only of such descendants. Where descent
is in the female line, as it was universally in the archaic period,
the gens is composed of a supposed female ancestor and her children,
together with the children of her female descendants, through females,
in perpetuity; and where descent is in the male line--into which it
was changed after the appearance of property in masses--of a
supposed male ancestor and his children, together with the children
of his male descendants, through males, in perpetuity. The family
name among ourselves is a survival of the gentile name, with descent
in the male line, and passing in the same manner. The modern family,
as expressed by its name, is an unorganized gens, with the bond of
kin broken, and its members as widely dispersed as the family name
is found.

Among the nations named, the gens indicated a social organization of
a remarkable character, which had prevailed from an antiquity so
remote that its origin was lost in the obscurity of far distant ages.
It was also the unit of organization of a social and governmental
system, the fundamental basis of ancient society. This organization
was not confined to the Latin, Grecian, and Sanskrit speaking tribes,
with whom it became such a conspicuous institution. It has been
found in other branches of the Aryan family of nations, in the
Semitic, Uralian and Turanian families, among the tribes of Africa
and Australia, and of the American aborigines.

The gens has passed through successive stages of development in its
transition from its archaic to its final form with the progress of
mankind. These changes were limited in the main to two, firstly,
changing descent from the female line, which was the archaic rule,
as among the Iroquois, to the male line, which was the final rule,
as among the Grecian and Roman gentes; and, secondly, changing the
inheritance of the property of a deceased member of the gens from
his gentiles, who took it in the archaic period, first to his
agnatic kindred, and finally to his children. These changes, slight
as they may seem, indicate very great changes of condition as well
as a large degree of progressive development.

The gentile organization, originating in the period of savagery,
enduring through the three subperiods of barbarism, finally gave way,
among the more advanced tribes, when they attained civilization--the
requirements of which it was unable to meet. Among the Greeks and
Romans political society supervened upon gentile society, but not
until civilization had commenced. The township (and its equivalent,
the city ward), with its fixed property, and the inhabitants it
contained, organized as a body politic, became the unit and the
basis of a new and radically different system of government. After
political society was instituted this ancient and time-honored
organization, with the phratry and tribe developed from it,
gradually yielded up their existence. It was under gentile
institutions that barbarism was won by some of the tribes of mankind
while in savagery, and that civilization was won by the descendants
of some of the same tribes while in barbarism. Gentile institutions
carried a portion of mankind from savagery to civilization.

This organization may be successfully studied both in its living and
in its historical forms in a large number of tribes and races. In
such an investigation it is preferable to commence with the gens in
its archaic form I shall commence, therefore, with the gens as it
now exists among the American aborigines, where it is found in its
archaic form, and among whom its theoretical constitution and
practical workings can be investigated more successfully than in the
historical gentes of the Greeks and Romans. In fact, to understand
fully the gentes of the latter nations a knowledge of the functions
and of the rights, privileges, and obligations of the members of the
American Indian gens is imperatively necessary.

In American ethnography tribe and clan have been used in the place
of gens as equivalent terms from not perceiving the universality of
the latter. In previous works, and following my predecessors, I have
so used them. A comparison of the Indian clan with the gens of the
Greeks and Romans reveals at once their identity in structure and
functions. It also extends to the phratry and tribe. If the identity
of these several organizations can be shown, of which there can be
no doubt, there is a manifest propriety in returning to the Latin
and Grecian terminologies, which are full and precise as well as

The plan of government of the American aborigines commenced with the
gens and ended with the confederacy, the latter being the highest
point to which their governmental institutions attained. It gave for
the organic series: first, the gens, a body of consanguinei having a
common gentile name; second, the phratry, an assemblage of related
gentes united in a higher association for certain common objects;
third, the tribe, an assemblage of gentes, usually organized in
phratries, all the members of which spoke the same dialect; and
fourth, a confederacy of tribes, the members of which respectively
spoke dialects of the same stock language. It resulted in a gentile
society (societas) as distinguished from a political society or
state (civitas). The difference between the two is wide and
fundamental. There was neither a political society, nor a citizen,
nor a state, nor any civilization in America when it was discovered.
One entire ethnical period intervened between the highest American
Indian tribes and the beginning of civilization, as that term is
properly understood.

The gens, though a very ancient social organization founded upon kin,
does not include all the descendants of a common ancestor. It was
for the reason that when the gens came in marriage between single
pairs was unknown, and descent through males could not be traced
with certainty. Kindred were linked together chiefly through the
bond of their maternity In the ancient gens descent was limited to
the female line. It embraced all such persons as traced their
descent from a supposed common female ancestor, through females, the
evidence of the fact being the possession of a common gentile name.
It would include this ancestor and her children, the children of her
daughters, and the children of her female descendants, through
females, in perpetuity, while the children of her sons and the
children of her male descendants, through males, would belong to
other gentes, namely, those of their respective mothers. Such was
the gens in its archaic form, when the paternity of children was not
certainly ascertainable, and when their maternity afforded the only
certain criterion of descents.

This state of descents which can be traced back to the Middle Status
of savagery, as among the Australians, remained among the American
aborigines through the Upper Status of savagery, and into and
through the Lower Status of barbarism, with occasional exceptions.
In the Middle Status of barbarism the Indian tribes began to change
descent from the female line to the male, as die syndyasmian family
of the period began to assume monogamian characteristics. In the
Upper Status of barbarism descent had become changed to the male
line among the Grecian tribes, with the exception of the Lycians,
and among the Italian tribes, with the exception of the Etruscans.
Between the two extremes, represented by the two rules of descent,
three entire ethnical periods intervene, covering many thousands of

As intermarriage in the gens was prohibited, it withdrew its members
from the evils of consanguine marriages, and thus tended to increase
the vigor of the stock. The gens came into being upon three
principal conceptions, namely, the bond of kin, a pure lineage
through descent in the female line, and non-intermarriage in the gens.
When the idea of a gens was developed, it would naturally have taken
the form of gentes in pairs, because the children of the males were
excluded, and because it was equally necessary to organize both
classes of descendants. With two gentes started into being
simultaneously the whole result would have been attained, since the
males and females of one gens would marry the females and males of
the other, and the children, following the gentes of their
respective mothers, would be divided between them. Resting on the
bond of kin as its cohesive principal the gens afforded to each
individual member that personal protection which no other existing
power could give.

After enumerating the rights, privileges, and obligations of its
members, it will be necessary to follow the gens in its organic
relations to a phratry tribe and confederacy, in order to find the
uses to which it was applied, the privileges which it conferred, and
the principles which it fostered. The gentes of the Iroquois will be
taken as the standard exemplification of this institution in the
Ganowaman family. They had carried their scheme of government from
the gens to the confederacy, making it complete in each of its parts,
and an excellent illustration of the capabilities of the gentile
organization in its archaic form.

When discovered the Iroquois were in the Lower Status of barbarism,
and well advanced in the arts of life pertaining to this condition.
They manufactured nets, twine, and rope from filaments of bark, wove
belts and burden straps, with warp and woof from the same materials,
they manufactured earthen vessels and pipes from clay mixed with
silicious materials and hardened by fire, some of which were
ornamented with rude medallions, they cultivated maize, beans,
squashes, and tobacco in garden beds, and made unleavened bread from
pounded maize, which they boiled in earthen vessels, [Footnote:
These loaves or cakes were about six inches in diameter and an inch
thick] they tanned skins into leather, with which they manufactured
kilts leggins, and moccasins, they used the bow and arrow and
war-club as their principal weapons, used flint-stone and bone
implements, wore skin garments, and were expert hunters and
fishermen They constructed long joint tenement houses large enough
to accommodate five, ten, and twenty families, and each household
practiced communism in living, but they were unacquainted with the
use of stone or adobe brick in house architecture, and with the use
of the native metals. In mental capacity and in general advancement
they were the representative branch of the Indian family north of
New Mexico General F A. Walker has sketched their military career in
two paragraphs "The career of the Iroquois was simply terrific. They
were the scourge of God upon the continent." [Footnote: North
American Review April No. 1873 p. 360 Note.] From lapse of time the
Iroquois tribes have come to differ slightly in the number and in
the names of their respective gentes, the largest number being eight,
as follows:

     Seneca    Cayuga   Onondaga  Oneida   Mohawks   Tuscarora
  1    Wolf      Wolf     Wolf      Wolf     Wolf      Gray Wolf
  2    Bear      Bear     Bear      Bear     Bear      Bear
  3    Turtle    Turtle   Turtle    Turtle   Turtle    Great Turtle
  4    Beaver    Beaver   Beaver                       Beaver
  5    Deer      Deer     Deer                         Yellow Wolf
  6    Snipe     Snipe    Snipe                        Snipe
  7    Heron     Eel      Eel                          Eel
  8    Hawk      Hawk     Ball                         Little Turtle

These changes show that certain gentes in some of the tribes have
become extinct through the vicissitudes of time, and that others
have been formed by the segmentation of over full gentes.

With a knowledge of the rights, privileges, and obligations of the
members of a gens, its capabilities as the unit of a social and
governmental system will be more fully understood, as well as the
manner in which it entered into the higher organizations of the
phratry tribe, and confederacy.

The gens is individualized by the following rights, privileges, and
obligations conferred and imposed upon its members, and which made
up the jus gentilicium:

     I The right of electing its sachem and chiefs

    II The right of deposing its sachem and chiefs

   III The obligation not to marry in the gens

    IV Mutual rights of inheritance of the property of deceased

     V Reciprocal obligations of help, defense, and redress of

    VI The right of bestowing names upon its members

   VII The right of adopting strangers into the gens

  VIII Common religious rites

    IX A common burial place.

     X A council of the gens

These functions and attributes gave vitality as well as
individuality to the organization and protected the personal rights
of its members. Such were the rights, privileges, and obligations of
the members of an Iroquois gens; and such were those of the members
of the gentes of the Indian tribes generally, as far as the
investigation has been carried.

For a detailed exposition of these characteristics the reader is
referred to Ancient Society, pp. 72-85.

All the members of an Iroquois gens were personally free, and they
were bound to defend each other's freedom; they were equal in
privileges and in personal rights, the sachem and chiefs claiming no
superiority; and they were a brotherhood bound together by the ties
of kin. Liberty, equality, and fraternity, though never formulated,
were cardinal principles of the gens. These facts are material,
because the gens was the unit of a social and governmental system,
the foundation upon which Indian society was organized. A structure
composed of such units would of necessity bear the impress of their
character, for as the unit so the compound. It serves to explain
that sense of independence and personal dignity universally an
attribute of Indian character.

Thus substantial and important in the social system was the gens as
it anciently existed among the American aborigines, and as it still
exists in full vitality in many Indian tribes. It was the basis of
the phratry, of the tribe, and of the confederacy of tribes.

At the epoch of European discovery the American Indian tribes
generally were organized in gentes, with descent in the female line.
In some tribes, as among the Dakotas, the gentes had fallen out; in
others, as among the Ojibwas, the Omahas, and the Mayas of Yucatan,
descent had been changed from the female to the male line.
Throughout aboriginal America the gens took its name from some
animal or inanimate object and never from a person. In this early
condition of society the individuality of persons was lost in the
gens. It is at least presumable that the gentes of the Grecian and
Latin tribes were so named at some anterior period; but when they
first came under historical notice they were named after persons. In
some of the tribes, as the Moki Village Indians of Arizona, the
members of the gens claimed their descent from the animal whose name
they bore--their remote ancestors having been transformed by the
Great Spirit from the animal into the human form. The Crane gens of
the Ojibwas have a similar legend. In some tribes the members of a
gens will not eat the animal whose name they bear, in which they are
doubtless influenced by this consideration.

With respect to the number of persons in a gens, it varied with the
number of the gentes, and with the prosperity or decadence of the
tribe. Three thousand Senecas divided equally among eight gentes
would give an average of three hundred and seventy-five persons to a
gens. Fifteen thousand Ojibwas divided equally among twenty-three
gentes would give six hundred and fifty persons to a gens. The
Cherokees would average more than a thousand to a gens. In the
present condition of the principal Indian tribes the number of
persons in each gens would range from one hundred to a thousand.

One of the oldest and most widely prevalent institutions of mankind,
the gentes have been closely identified with human progress upon
which they have exercised a powerful influence. They have been found
in tribes in the Status of savagery, in the Lower, in the Middle,
and in the Upper Status of barbarism on different continents, and in
full vitality in the Grecian and Latin tribes after civilization had
commenced. Every family of mankind, except the Polynesian, seems to
have come under the gentile organization, and to have been indebted
to it for preservation and for the means of progress. It finds its
only parallel in length of duration in systems of consanguinity,
which, springing up at a still earlier period, have remained to the
present time, although the marriage usages in which they originated
have long since disappeared.

From its early institution, and from its maintenance through such
immense stretches of time, the peculiar adaptation of the gentile
organization to mankind, while in a savage and in a barbarous state,
must be regarded as abundantly demonstrated.


The phratry (phratria) is a brotherhood, as the term imports, and a
natural growth from the organization into gentes. It is an organic
union or association of two or more gentes of the same tribe for
certain common objects. These gentes were usually such as had been
formed by the segmentation of an original gens.

The phratry existed in a large number of the tribes of the American
aborigines, where it is seen to arise by natural growth, and to
stand as the second member of the organic series, as among the
Grecian and Latin tribes. It did not possess original governmental
functions, as the gens tribe and confederacy possessed them but it
was endowed with certain useful powers in the social system, from
the necessity for some organization larger than a gens and smaller
than a tribe and especially when the tribe was large. The same
institution in essential features and in character, it presents the
organization in its archaic form and with its archaic functions. A
knowledge of the Indian phratry is necessary to an intelligent
understanding of the Grecian and the Roman.

The eight gentes of the Seneca Iroquois tribe were reintegrated in
two phratries as follows:

                First Phratry
  Gentes--1 Bear 2 Wolf 3 Beaver 4 Turtle
                Second Phratry
  Gentes--5 Deer 6 Snipe 7 Heron 8 Hawk

Each phratry (De da non da a yoh) is a brotherhood as this term also
imports. The gentes in the same phratry are brother gentes to each
other and cousin gentes to those of the other phratry. They are
equal in grade, character, and privileges. It is a common practice
of the Senecas to call the gentes of their own phratry brother
gentes and those of the other phratry their cousin gentes, when they
mention them in their relation to the phratries. Originally marriage
was not allowed between the members of the same phratry but the
members of either could marry into any gens of the other. This
prohibition tends to show that the gentes of each phratry were
subdivisions of an original gens and therefore the prohibition
against marrying into a person's own gens had followed to its
subdivisions. This restriction however was long since removed except
with respect to the gens of the individual. A tradition of the
Senecas affirms that the Bear and the Deer were the original gentes,
of which the others were subdivisions. It is thus seen that the
phratry had a natural foundation in the kinship of the gentes of
which it was composed. After their subdivision from increase of
numbers there was a natural tendency to their reunion in a higher
organization for objects common to them all. The same gentes are not
constant in a phratry indefinitely, as appears from the composition
of the phratries in the remaining Iroquois tribes. Transfers of
particular gentes from one phratry to the other must have occurred
when the equilibrium in their respective numbers was disturbed. It
is important to know the simple manner in which this organization
springs up, and the facility with which it is managed as a part of
the social system of ancient society. With the increase of numbers
in a gens, followed by local separation of its members, segmentation
occurred, and the seceding portion adopted a new gentile name. But a
tradition of their former unity would remain and become the basis of
their reorganization in a phratry.

From the differences in the composition of the phratries in the
several tribes it seems probable that the phratries are modified in
their gentes at intervals of time to meet changes of condition. Some
gentes prosper and increase in numbers, while others, through
calamities, decline, and others become extinct; so that transfers of
gentes from one phratry to another were found necessary to preserve
some degree of equality in the number of phrators in each. The
phratric organization has existed among the Iroquois from time
immemorial. It is probably older than the confederacy which was
established more than four centuries ago. The amount of difference
in their composition, as to the gentes they contain, represents the
vicissitudes through which each tribe has passed in the interval. In
any view of the matter it is small, tending to illustrate the
permanence of the phratry as well as the gens.

The Iroquois tribes had a total of thirty-eight gentes, and in four
of the tribes a total of eight phratries.

The phratry among the Iroquois was partly for social and partly for
religious objects. Its functions and uses can be best shown by
practical illustrations. We begin with the lowest, with games, which
were of common occurrence at tribal and confederate councils. In the
ball game, for example, among the Senecas, they play by phratries,
one against the other, and they bet against each other upon the
result of the game. Each phratry puts forward its best players,
usually from six to ten on a side, and the members of each phratry
assemble together, but upon opposite sides of the field in which the
game is played. Before it commences, articles of personal property
are hazarded upon the result by members of the opposite phratries.
These are deposited with keepers to abide the event. The game is
played with spirit and enthusiasm, and is an exciting spectacle. The
members of each phratry, from their opposite stations, watch the
game with eagerness, and cheer their respective players at every
successful turn of the game. [Footnote: League of the Iroquois, p.

Again, when a murder had been committed it was usual for the gens of
the murdered person to meet in council, and, after ascertaining the
facts, to take measures for avenging the deed. The gens of the
criminal also held a council, and endeavored to effect an adjustment
or condonation of the crime with the gens of the murdered person;
but it often happened that the gens of the criminal called upon the
other gentes of their phratry, when the slayer and the slain
belonged to opposite phratries, to unite with them to obtain a
condonation of the crime. In such a case the phratry held a council,
and then addressed itself to the other phratry, to which it sent a
delegation with a belt of white wampum asking for a council of the
phratry and for an adjustment of the crime. They offered reparation
to the family and gens of the murdered person in expressions of
regret and in presents of value. Negotiations were continued between
the two councils until an affirmative or a negative conclusion was
reached. The influence of a phratry composed of several gentes would
be greater than that of a single gens; and by calling into action
the opposite phratry the probability of a condonation would be
increased, especially if there were extenuating circumstances. We
may thus see how naturally the Grecian phratry, prior to civilization,
assumed the principal though not exclusive management of cases of
murder, and also of the purification of the murderer if he escaped
punishment, and after the institution of political society with what
propriety the phratry assumed the duty of prosecuting the murderer
in the courts of justice.

At the funerals of persons of recognized importance in the tribe the
phratric organization manifested itself in a conspicuous manner The
phrators of the decedent in a body were the mourners, and the
members of the opposite phratry conducted the ceremonies. At the
funeral of Handsome Lake (Ga-ne-o-di'-yo), one of the eight Seneca
sachems (which occurred some years ago), there was an assemblage of
sachems and chiefs to the number of twenty-seven, and a large
concourse of members of both phratries The customary address to the
dead body, and the other addresses before the removal of the body,
were made by members of the opposite phratry After the addresses
were concluded the body was borne to the grave by persons selected
from the last named phratry, followed, first, by the sachems and
chiefs, then by the family and gens of the decedent, next by his
remaining phrators, and last by the members of the opposite phratry
After the body had been deposited in the grave the sachems and
chiefs formed in a circle around it for the purpose of filling it
with earth. Each in turn, commencing with the senior in years, cast
in three shovelfuls, a typical number in their religious system, of
which the first had relation to the Great Spirit, the second to the
Sun, and the third to Mother Earth When the grave was filled the
senior sachem, by a figure of speech, deposited "the horns" of the
departed sachem, emblematic of his office, upon the top of the grave
over his head, there to remain until his successor was installed In
that subsequent ceremony "the horns" were said to be taken from the
grave of the deceased ruler and placed upon the head of his
successor The social and religious functions of the phratry, and its
naturalness in the organic system of ancient society, are rendered
apparent by this single usage.

The phratry was also directly concerned in the election of sachems
and chiefs of the several gentes, upon which they had a negative as
well as a confirmative vote After the gens of a deceased sachem had
elected his successor, or had elected a chief of the second grade,
it was necessary, as elsewhere stated, that their choice should be
accepted and confirmed by each phratry It was expected that the
gentes of the same phratry would confirm the choice almost as a
matter of course, but the opposite phratry also must acquiesce, and
from this source opposition sometimes appeared A council of each
phratry was held and pronounced upon the question of acceptance or
rejection. If the nomination made was accepted by both it became
complete, but if either refused it was thereby set aside and a new
election was made by the gens. When the choice made by the gens had
been accepted by the phratries it was still necessary, as before
stated, that the new sachem, or the new chief, should be invested by
the council of the confederacy, which alone had power to invest with

The phratry was without governmental functions in the strict sense
of the phrase, these being confined to the gens tribe and confederacy;
but it entered into their social affairs with large administrative
powers, and would have concerned itself more and more with their
religious affairs as the condition of the people advanced. Unlike
the Grecian phratry and the Roman curia, it had no official head.
There was no chief of the phratry as such, and no religious
functionaries belonging to it as distinguished from the gene and
tribe. The phratric institution among the Iroquois was in its
rudimentary archaic form; but it grew into life by natural and
inevitable development, and remained permanent because it met
necessary wants Every institution of mankind which attained
permanence will be found linked with a perpetual want. With the gens
tribe and confederacy in existence the presence of the phratry was
substantially assured. It required time, however, and further
experience to manifest all the uses to which it might be made

Among the Village Indians of Mexico and Central America the phratry
must have existed, reasoning upon general principles, and have been
a more fully developed and influential organization than among the
Iroquois Unfortunately mere glimpses at such an institution are all
that can be found in the teeming narratives of the Spanish writers
within the first century after the Spanish conquest. The four
"lineages" of the Tlascalans who occupied the four quarters of the
pueblo of Tlascalan were, in all probability, so many phratries. They
were sufficiently numerous for four tribes, but as they occupied the
same pueblo and spoke the same dialect the phratric organization was
apparently a necessity. Each lineage or phratry, so to call it, had
a distinct military organization, a peculiar costume and banner, and
its head war-chief (Teuctli), who was its general military commander.
They went forth to battle by phratries. The organization of a
military force by phratries and by tribes was not unknown to the
Homeric Greeks Thus, Nestor advised Agamemnon to "separate the
troops by phratries and by tribes, so that phratry may support
phratry and tribe" [Footnote: Illiad]

Under gentile institutions of the most advanced type the principle
of kin became to a considerable extent the basis of the army
organization. The Aztecs, in like manner occupied the pueblo of
Mexico in four distinct divisions, the people of each of which were
more nearly related to each other than to the people of the other
divisions. They were separate lineages, like the Tlas-calan, and it
seems highly probable were four phratries, separately organized as
such They were distinguished from each--other by costumes and
standards, and went out to war as separate divisions. Their
geographical areas were called the four quarters of Mexico.

With respect to the prevalence of this organization among the Indian
tribes in the Lower Status of barbarism the subject has been but
slightly investigated. It is probable that it was general in the
principal tribes from the natural manner in which it springs up as a
necessary member of the organic series, and from the uses, other
than governmental, to which it was adapted.

In some of the tribes the phratries stand out prominently upon the
face of their organization. Thus the Chocta gentes are united in two
phratries which must be mentioned first in order to show the
relation of the gentes to each other. The first phratry is called
"Divided People," and contains four gentes. The second is called
"Beloved People" and also contains four gentes. This separation of
the people into two divisions by gentes created two phratries. Some
knowledge of the functions of these phratries is of course desirable,
but without it, the fact of their existence is established by the
divisions themselves. The evolution of a confederacy from a pair of
gentes--for less than two are never found in any tribe--may be
deduced theoretically from the known facts of Indian experience.
Thus the gens increases in the number of its members and divides
into two these again subdivide and in time reunite in two or more
phratries. These phratries form a tribe and its members speak the
same dialect. In course of time this tribe falls into several by the
process of segmentation, which in turn reunite in a confederacy.
Such a confederacy is a growth, through the tribe and phratry, from
a pair of gentes.

The Chickasas are organized in two phratries, of which one contains
four and the other eight gentes, as follows:

I. Panther Phratry.

Gentes. Wild Cat 2. Bird. 3. Fish. 4. Deer.

II. Spanish Phratry.

Gentes--5. Raccoon. 6. Spanish. 7. Royal. 8. Hush-ko'-ni. 9.
Squirrel 10. Alligator. 11 Wolf. 12. Blackbird.

A very complete illustration of the manner in which phratries are
formed by natural growth through the subdivision of gentes is
presented by the organization of the Mohegan tribe. It had three
original gentes, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Turkey.

Each of these subdivided, and the subdivisions became independent
gentes; but they retained the names of the original gentes as their
respective phratric names In other words, the subdivisions of each
gens reorganized in a phratry. It proves conclusively the natural
process by which in course of time a gens breaks up into several,
and these remain united in a phratric organization, which is
expressed by assuming a phratric name. They are as follows:

I. Wolf Phratry

Gentes. 1. Wolf 2. Bear 3. Dog. 4 Opossum.

II. Turtle Phratry

Gentes--5 Little Turtle. 6. Mud Turtle. 7. Great Turtle
   8. Yellow Eel.

III. Turkey Phratry

Gentes--9. Turkey 10. Crane 11. Chicken 12.

It is thus seen that the original Wolf gens divided into four gentes,
the Turtle into four, and the Turkey into three. Each new gens took
a new name, the original retaining its own, which became by
seniority that of the phratry. It is rare among the American Indian
tribes to find such plain evidence of the segmentation of gentes in
their external organization, followed by the formation into
phratries of their respective subdivisions. It shows also that the
phratry is founded upon the kinship of the gentes. As a rule, the
name of the original gens out of which others had formed is not known;
but in each of these cases it remains as the name of the phratry.
Since the latter, like the Grecian, was a social and religious
rather than a governmental organization, it is externally less
conspicuous than a gens or tribe, which were essential to the
government of society. The name of but one of the twelve Athenian
phratries has come down to us in history. Those of the Iroquois had
no name but that of a brotherhood.

The phratry also appears among the Thlinkits of the Northwest coast
upon the surface of their organization into gentes. They have two
phratries, as follows:

I. Wolf Phratry.

Gentes. 1. Bear 2. Eagle. 3. Dolphin. 4. Shark. 5. Alca.

II. Raven Phratry.

Gentes. 6. Frog. 7. Goose. 8. Sea-lion. 9. Owl. 10. Salmon.

Intermarriage in the phratry is prohibited, which shows of itself
that the gentes of each phratry were derived from an original gens.
The members of any gens in the Wolf phratry could marry into any
gens of the opposite phratry, and vice versa.

From the foregoing facts the existence of the phratry is established
in several linguistic stocks of the American aborigines. Its
presence in the tribes named raises a presumption of its general
prevalence in the Ganowanian family. Among the Village Indians,
where the numbers in a gens and tribe were greater, it would
necessarily have been more important, and consequently more fully
developed. As an institution it was still in its archaic form, but
it possessed the essential elements of the Grecian and the Roman.


It is difficult to describe an Indian tribe by the affirmative
elements of its composition. Nevertheless it is clearly marked, and
is the ultimate organization of the great body of the American
aborigines. The large number of independent tribes into which they
had fallen by the natural process of segmentation is the striking
characteristic of their condition. Each tribe was individualized by
a name, by a separate dialect, by a supreme government, and by the
possession of a territory which it occupied and defended as its own.
The tribes were as numerous as the dialects, for separation did not
become complete until dialectical variation had commenced. Indian
tribes, therefore, are natural growths through the separation of the
same people in the area of their occupation, followed by divergence
of speech, segmentation, and independence.

The exclusive possession of a dialect and of a territory has led to
the application of the term nation to many Indian tribes,
notwithstanding the fewness of the people in each. Tribe and nation,
however, are not strict equivalents. A nation does not arise, under
gentile institutions, until the tribes united under the same
government have coalesced into one people, as the four Athenian
tribes coalesced in Attica, three Dorian tribes at Sparta, and three
Latin and Sabine tribes at Rome. Federation requires independent
tribes in separate territorial areas; but coalescence unites them by
a higher process in the same area, although the tendency to local
separation by gentes and by tribes would continue. The confederacy
is the nearest analogue of the nation, but not strictly equivalent.
Where the gentile organization exists, the organic series gives all
the terms which are needed for a correct description.

An Indian tribe is composed of several gentes, developed from two or
more, all the members of which are intermingled by marriage, and all
of whom speak the same dialect. To a stranger the tribe is visible,
and not the gens. The instances are extremely rare, among the
American aborigines, in which the tribe embraced peoples speaking
different dialects. When such cases are found it has resulted from
the union of a weaker with a stronger tribe speaking a closely
related dialect, as the union of the Missouris with the Otoet, after
the overthrow of the former. The fact that the great body of the
aborigines were found in independent tribes illustrates the slow and
difficult growth of the idea of government under gentile institutions.
A small portion only had attained to the ultimate stage known Among
them, that of a confederacy of tribes speaking dialects of the same
stock language. A coalescence of tribes into a nation had not
occurred in any case in any part of America.

A constant tendency to disintegration, which has proved such a
hindrance to progress among savage and barbarous tribes, existed in
the elements of the gentile organization. It was aggravated by a
further tendency to divergence of speech, which was inseparable from
their social state and the large areas of their occupation. An oral
language, although remarkably persistent in its vocables, and still
more persistent in its grammatical forms, is incapable of permanence.
Separation of the people in area was followed in time by variation
in speech; and this, in turn, led to separation in interests and
ultimate independence. It was not the work of a brief period, but of
centuries of time, aggregating finally into thousands of years; and
the multiplication of the languages and dialects of the different
families of North and South America probably required for their
formation the time measured by three ethnical periods.

New tribes, as well as new gentes, were constantly forming by
natural growth, and the process was sensibly accelerated by the
great expanse of the American continent. The method was simple. In
the first place there would occur a gradual outflow of people from
some overstocked geographical center, which possessed superior
advantages in the means of subsistence. Continued from year to year,
a considerable population would thus be developed at a distance from
the original seat of the tribe In course of time the emigrants would
become distinct in interests, strangers in feeling, and, last of all,
divergent in speech. Separation and independence would follow,
although their territories were contiguous. A new tribe was thus
created. This is a concise statement of the manner in which the
tribes of the American aborigines were formed, but the statement
must be taken as general. Repeating itself from age to age in newly
acquired as well as in old areas, it must be regarded as a natural
as well as inevitable result of the gentile organization, united
with the necessities of their condition. When increased numbers
pressed upon the means of subsistence, the surplus removed to a new
seat, where they established themselves with facility, because the
government was perfect in every gens, and in any number of gentes
united in a band. Among the Village Indians the same thing repeated
itself in a slightly different manner. When a village became
overcrowded with numbers, a colony went up or down on the same
stream and commenced a new village. Repeated at intervals of time,
several such villages would appear, each independent of the other
and a self-governing body, but united in a league or confederacy for
mutual protection. Dialectic variation would finally spring up, and
thus complete their growth into tribes.

The manner in which tribes are evolved from each other can be shown
directly by examples. The fact of separation can be derived in part
from tradition, in part from the possession by each of a number of
the same gentes, and deduced in part from the relations of their
dialects. Tribes formed by the subdivisions of an original tribe
would possess a number of gentes in common, and speak dialects of
the same language. After several centuries of separation they would
still have a number of the same gentes. Thus the Hurons, now Wyandots,
have six gentes of the same name with six of the gentes of the
Seneca-Iroquois, after at least four hundred years of separation.
The Potawattamies have eight gentes of the same name with eight
among the Ojibwas, while the former have six, and the latter fourteen,
which are different, showing that new gentes have been formed in
each tribe by segmentation since their separation. A still older
offshoot from the Ojibwas, or from the common parent tribe of both,
the Miamis, have but three gentes in common with the former, namely,
the Wolf, the Loon, and the Eagle. The minute social history of the
tribes of the Ganowanian family is locked up in the life and growth
of the gentes. If investigation is ever turned strongly in this
direction, the gentes themselves would become reliable guides, in
respect to the order of separation from each other of the tribes of
the same stock.

This process of subdivision has been operating among the American
aborigines for thousands of years, until several hundred tribes have
been developed from about seventy stocks as existing in as many
families of language. Their experience, probably was but a
repetition of that of the tribes of Asia, Europe, and Africa when
they were in corresponding conditions.

From the preceding observations it is apparent that an American
Indian tribe is a very simple as well as humble organization. It
required but a few hundred, and, at most, a few thousand people to
form a tribe and place it in a respectable position in the
Ganowanian family.

It remains to present the functions and attributes of an Indian tribe,
which are contained in the following propositions:

I The possession of a territory and a name

II The exclusive possession of a dialect

III The right to invest sachems and chiefs elected by the gentes.

IV The right to depose these sachems and chiefs

V The possession of a religious faith and worship

VI A supreme government consisting of a council of chiefs

VII A head-chief of the tribe in some instances

For a discussion of these characteristics of a tribe, reference is
made to Ancient Society, pp. 113-118.

The growth of the idea of government commenced with the organization
into gentes in savagery. It reveals three great stages of
progressive development between its commencement and the institution
of political society after civilization had been attained. The first
stage was the government of a tribe by a council of chiefs elected
by the gentes. It may be called a government of one power, namely
the council. It prevailed generally among tribes in the Lower Status
of barbarism. The second stage was a government co-ordinated between
a council of chiefs and a general military commander, one
representing the civil and the other the military functions. This
second form began to manifest itself in the Lower Status of
barbarism after confederacies were formed, and it became definite in
the Middle Status. The office of general, or principal military
commander, was the germ of that of a chief executive magistrate, the
king, the emperor, and the president. It may be called a government
of two powers, namely, the council of chiefs and the general. The
third stage was the government of a people or nation by a council of
chiefs an assembly of the people, and a general military commander.
It appeared among the tribes who had attained to the Upper Status of
barbarism, such, for example, as the Homeric Greeks and the Italian
tribes of the period of Romulus. A Large increase in the number of
people united in a nation, their establishment in walled cities, and
the creation of wealth in lands and in flocks and herds, brought in
the assembly of the people as an instrument of government. The
council of chiefs, which still remained, found it necessary, no doubt,
through popular constraint, to submit the most important public
measures to an assembly of the people for acceptance or rejection;
whence the popular assembly. This assembly did not originate measures.
It was its function to adopt or reject, and its action was final.
From its first appearance it became a permanent power in the
government. The council no longer passed important public measures,
but became a preconsidering council, with power to originate and
mature public acts to which the assembly alone could give validity.
It may be called a government of three powers, namely, the
preconsidering council, the assembly of the people, and the general.
This remained until the institution of political society, when, for
example, among the Athenians, the council of chiefs became the senate,
and the assembly of the people the ecclesia or popular assembly. The
same organizations have come down to modern times in the two houses
of Parliament, of Congress, and of legislatures. In like manner the
office of general military commander, as before stated, was the germ
of the office of the modern chief executive magistrate.

Recurring to the tribe, it was limited in the numbers of the people,
feeble in strength, and poor in resources; but yet a completely
organized society. It illustrates the condition of mankind in the
Lower Status of barbarism. In the Middle Status there was a sensible
increase of numbers in a tribe, and an improved condition, but with
a continuance of gentile society without essential change. Political
society was still impossible from want of advancement. The gentes
organized into tribes remained as before, but confederacies must
have been more frequent. In some areas, as in the Valley of Mexico,
large numbers were developed under a common government, with
improvements in the arts of life, but no evidence exists of the
overthrow among them of gentile society and the substitution of
political. It is impossible to found a political society or a state
upon gentes. A state must rest upon territory and not upon persons,
upon the township as the unit of a political system, and not upon
the gens, which is the unit of a social system. It required time and
a vast experience, beyond that of the American Indian tribes, as a
preparation for such a fundamental change of systems. It also
required men of the mental stature of the Greeks and Romans, and
with the experience derived from a long chain of ancestors, to
devise and gradually introduce that new plan of government under
which civilized nations are living at the present time.


A tendency to confederate for mutual defense would very naturally
exist among kindred and contiguous tribes. When the advantages of a
union had been appreciated by actual experience, the organization,
at first a league, would gradually cement into a federal unity. The
state of perpetual warfare in which they lived would quicken this
natural tendency into action among such tribes as were sufficiently
advanced in intelligence and in the arts of life to perceive its
benefits. It would be simply a growth from a lower into a higher
organization by an extension of the principle which united the
gentes in a tribe.

As might have been expected, several confederacies existed in
different parts of North America when discovered, some of which were
quite remarkable in plan and structure. Among the number may be
mentioned the Iroquois Confederacy of five independent tribes, the
Creek Confederacy of six, the Ottawa Confederacy of three, the
Dakota League of the "Seven Council Fires," the Moki Confederacy in
New Mexico of Seven Pueblos, and the Aztec Confederacy of three
tribes in the Valley of Mexico. It is probable that the Village
Indians in other parts of Mexico, in Central and in South America
were quite generally organized in confederacies consisting of two or
more kindred tribes. Progress necessarily took this direction from
the nature of their institutions and from the law governing their
development. Nevertheless the formation of a confederacy out of such
materials and with such unstable geographical relations was a
difficult undertaking. It was easiest of achievement by the Village
Indians from the nearness to each other of their pueblos and from
the smallness of their areas; but it was accomplished in occasional
instances by tribes in the Lower Status of barbarism, and notably by
the Iroquois. Wherever a confederacy was formed it would of itself
evince the superior intelligence of the people.

The two highest examples of Indian confederacies in North America
were those of the Iroquois and of the Aztecs. From their
acknowledged superiority as military powers, and from their
geographical positions, these confederacies in both cases produced
remarkable results. Our knowledge of the structure and principles of
the former is definite and complete, while of the latter it is far
from satisfactory. The Aztec Confederacy has been handled in such a
manner historically as to leave it doubtful whether it was simply a
league of three kindred tribes, offensive and defensive, or a
systematic confederacy like that of the Iroquois. That which is true
of the latter was probably in a general sense true of the former, so
that a knowledge of one will tend to elucidate the other.

The conditions under which confederacies spring into being and the
principles on which they are formed are remarkably simple. They grow
naturally with time out of pre-existing elements. Where one tribe
had divided into several, and these subdivisions occupied
independent but contiguous territories, the confederacy reintegrated
them in a higher organization on the basis of the common gentes they
possessed and of the affiliated dialects they spoke. The sentiment
of kin embodied in the gens, the common lineage of the gentes, and
their dialects, still mutually intelligible, yielded the material
elements for a confederation. The confederacy, therefore, had the
gentes for its basis and center, and stock language for its
circumference. No one has been found that reached beyond the bounds
of the dialects of a common language. If this natural barrier had
been crossed it would have forced heterogeneous elements into the
organization. Cases have occurred where the remains of a tribe, not
cognate in speech, as the Natchez, [Footnote: They were admitted
into the Creek Confederacy after their overthrow by the French.]
have been admitted into an existing confederacy, but this exception
would not invalidate the general proposition. It was impossible for
an Indian power to arise upon the American continent through a
confederacy of tribes organized in gentes, and advance to a general
supremacy, unless their numbers were developed from their own stock.
The multitude of stock languages is a standing explanation of the
failure. There was no possible way of becoming connected on equal
terms with a confederacy excepting through membership in a gens and
tribe and a common speech.

The Iroquois have furnished an excellent illustration of the manner
in which a confederacy is formed by natural growth assisted by
skillful legislation. Originally emigrants from beyond the
Mississippi, and possibly a branch of the Dakota stock, they first
made their way to the valley of the St. Lawrence and settled
themselves near Montreal. Forced to leave this region by the
hostility of surrounding tribes, they sought the central region of
New York. Coasting the eastern shore of Lake Ontario in canoes, for
their numbers were small, they made their first settlement at the
mouth of the Oswego River, where, according to their traditions,
they remained for a long period of time. They were then in at least
three distinct tribes, the Mohawks, the Onondagas, and the Senecas.
One tribe subsequently established themselves at the head of the
Canandaigua Lake and became the Senecas. Another tribe occupied the
Onondaga Valley and became the Onondagas. The third passed eastward
and settled first at Oneida, near the site of Utica, from which
place the main portion removed to the Mohawk Valley and became the
Mohawks. Those who remained became the Oneidas. A portion of the
Onondagas or Senecas settled along the eastern shore of the Cayuga
Lake and became the Cayugas. New York, before its occupation by the
Iroquois, seems to have been a part of the area of the Algonkin
tribes. According to Iroquois traditions, they displaced its
anterior inhabitants as they gradually extended their settlements
eastward to the Hudson and westward to the Genesee. Their traditions
further declare that a long period of time elapsed after their
settlement in New York before the confederacy was formed, during
which they made common cause against their enemies, and thus
experienced the advantages of the federal principle both for
aggression and defense. They resided in villages, which were usually
surrounded with stockades, and subsisted upon fish and game and the
products of a limited horticulture. In numbers they did not at any
time exceed 20,000 souls, if they ever reached that number.
Precarious subsistence and incessant warfare repressed numbers in
all the aboriginal tribes, including the Village Indians as well.
The Iroquois were enshrouded in the great forests which then
overspread New York, against which they had no power to contend.
They were first discovered A. D. 1608. About 1675 they attained
their culminating point, when their dominion reached over an area
remarkably large, covering the greater parts of New York,
Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and portions of Canada north of Lake Ontario.
[Footnote: About 1651-1655 they expelled their kindred tribes, the
Eries, from the region between the Genesee River and Lake Erie, and
shortly afterwards the Neutral Nations from the Niagara River, and
thus came into possession of the remainder of New York, with the
exception of the Lower Hudson and Long Island.]

At the time of their discovery they were the highest representatives
of the red race north of New Mexico in intelligence and advancement,
though perhaps inferior to some of the Gulf tribes in the arts of
life. In the extent and quality of their mental endowments they must
be ranked among the highest Indians in America. There are over six
thousand Iroquois in New York, besides scattered bands in other
parts of the United States, and a still larger number in Canada;
thus illustrating the efficiency as well as persistency of the arts
of barbarous life in sustaining existence. It is, moreover, now
ascertained that they are slowly increasing.

When the confederacy was formed, about A. D. 1400-1450, the
conditions previously named were present. [Footnote: The Iroquois
claimed that it had existed from one hundred and fifty to two
hundred years when they first saw Europeans. The generations of
sachems in the history by David Cusick (a Tuscarora) would make it
more ancient. Schoolcraft's History, Condition and Prospects of the
Indian Tribes, 5, p. 631.]

The Iroquois were in five independent tribes, occupied territories
contiguous to each other, and spoke dialects of the same language
which were mutually intelligible. Beside these facts, certain gentes
were common in the several tribes, as has been shown. In their
relations to each other, as separated parts of the same gens, these
common gentes afforded a natural and enduring basis for a confederacy.
With these elements existing, the formation of a confederacy became
a question of intelligence and skill. Other tribes in large numbers
were standing in precisely the same relations in different parts of
the continent without confederating. The fact that the Iroquois
tribes accomplished the work affords evidence of their superior
capacity. Moreover, as the confederacy was the ultimate stage of
organization among the American aborigines, its existence would be
expected in the most intelligent tribes only.

It is affirmed by the Iroquois that the confederacy was formed by a
council of wise men and chiefs of the five tribes which met for that
purpose on the north shore of Onondaga Lake, near the site of
Syracuse; and that before its session was concluded the organization
was perfected and set in immediate operation. At their periodical
councils for raising up sachems they still explain its origin as the
result of one protracted effort of legislation. It was probably a
consequence of a previous alliance for mutual defense, the
advantages of which they had perceived and which they sought to
render permanent.

The origin of the plan is ascribed to a mythical, or, at least,
traditionary person, Ha-yo-went-ha, the Hiawatha of Longfellow's
celebrated poem, who was present at this council and the central
person in its management. In his communications with the council he
used a wise man of the Onondagas, Da-ga-no-we'-da, as an interpreter
and speaker to expound the structure and principles of the proposed
confederacy. The same tradition further declares that when the work
was accomplished Ha-yo-went-ha miraculously disappeared in a white
canoe, which arose with him in the air and bore him out of their
sight. Other prodigies, according to this tradition, attended and
signalized the formation of the confederacy, which is still
celebrated among them as a masterpiece of Indian wisdom. Such in
truth it was; and it will remain in history as a monument of their
genius in developing gentile institutions. It will also be
remembered as an illustration of what tribes of mankind have been
able to accomplish in the art of government while in the Lower
Status of barbarism, and under the disadvantages this condition

Which of the two persona was the founder of the confederacy it is
difficult to determine. The silent Ha-yo-went'-ha was, not unlikely,
a real person of Iroquois lineage, but tradition has enveloped his
character so completely in the supernatural that he loses his place
among them as one of their number. If Hiawatha were a real person,
Da-ga-no-we'-da must hold a subordinate place; but if a mythical
person invoked for the occasion, then to the latter belongs the
credit of planning the confederacy. [Footnote: My friend Horatio Hale,
the eminent philologist, came, as he informed me, to this conclusion]

The Iroquois affirm that the confederacy, as formed by this council,
with its powers, functions, and mode of administration, has come
down to them through many generations to the present time with
scarcely a change in its internal organization. When the Tuscaroras
were subsequently admitted, their sachems were allowed by courtesy
to sit as equals in the general council, but the original number of
sachems was not increased, and in strictness those of the Tuscaroras
formed no part of the ruling body.

The general features of the Iroquois Confederacy may be summarized
in the following propositions:

I. The Confederacy was a union of Five Tribes, composed of common
gentes, under one government on the basis of equality; each Tribe
remaining independent in all matters pertaining to local

II. It created a General Council of Sachems, who were limited in
number, equal in rank and authority, and invested with supreme
powers over all matters pertaining to the Confederacy.

III. Fifty Sachemships were created and named in perpetuity in
certain gentes of the several Tribes; with power in these gentes to
fill vacancies, as often as they occurred, by election from among
their respective members, and with the further power to depose from
office for cause; but the right to invest these Sachems with office
was reserved to the General Council.

IV. The Sachems of the Confederacy were also Sachems in their
respective Tribes, and with the Chiefs of these Tribes formed the
Council of each, which was supreme over all matters pertaining to
the Tribe exclusively.

V. Unanimity in the Council of the Confederacy was made essential to
every public act.

VI. In the General Council the Sachems voted by Tribes, which gave
to each Tribe a negative upon the others.

VII. The Council of each Tribe had power to convene the General
Council; but the latter had no power to convene itself.

VIII. The General Council was open to the orators of the people for
the discussion of public questions; but the Council alone decided.

IX. The Confederacy had no chief Executive Magistrate or official

X. Experiencing the necessity for a General Military Commander, they
created the office in a dual form, that one might neutralize the
other. The two principal War-chiefs created were made equal in powers.

These several propositions will be considered and illustrated, but
without following the precise form or order in which they are stated.

At the institution of the confederacy fifty permanent sachemships
were created and named, and made perpetual in the gentes to which
they were assigned. With the exception of two, which were filled but
once, they have been held by as many different persons in succession
as generations have passed away between that time and the present.
The name of each sachemship is also the personal name of each sachem
while he holds the office each one in succession taking the name of
his predecessor. These sachems, when in session, formed the council
of the confederacy in which the legislative, executive, and judicial
powers were vested, although such a discrimination of functions had
not come to be made. To secure order in the succession, the several
gentes in which these offices were made hereditary were empowered to
elect successors from among their respective members when vacancies
occurred as elsewhere explained. As a further measure of protection
to their own body, each sachem, after his election and its
confirmation, was invested with his office by a council of the
confederacy. When thus installed his name was "taken away" and that
of the sachemship was bestowed upon him. By this name he was
afterwards known among them. They were all upon equality in rank
authority, and privileges.

These sachemships were distributed unequally among the five tribes;
but without giving to either a preponderance of power; and unequally
among the gentes of the last three tribes. The Mohawks had nine
sachems, the Oneidas nine, the Onondagas fourteen, the Cayugas ten,
and the Senecas eight. This was the number at first, and it has
remained the number to the present time. A table of these sachemships,
founded at the institution of the Confederacy with the names which
have been borne by their sachems in succession from its formation to
the present time, is subjoined, with their names in the Seneca
dialect, and their arrangement in classes to facilitate the
attainment of unanimity in council. In foot-notes will be found the
signification of these names, and the gentes to which they belonged:
[Footnote: These names signify as follows:]

  Table of sachemships of the Iroquois.


     1. Da-go-e'-o-ge.   [Footnote: "Neutral," or "The Shield."]
     2. Ho-yo-went'-ha.  [Footnote: "Man who Combs."]
     3. Da-go-no-we'-do. [Footnote: "Inexhaustible."]

     4. So-o-e-wo'-ah.   [Footnote: "Small Speech."]
     5. Da-yo'-ho-go.    [Footnote: "At the Forks."]
     6. O-o-o'-go-wo.    [Footnote: "At the Great River."]

     7. Da-an-no-go'-e-neh.    [Footnote: "Dragging His Horns."]
     8. So-da'-go-e-wo-deh.    [Footnote: "Even Tempered."]
     9. Hos-do-weh'-se-ont-ho. [Footnote: "Hanging up Rattles."
           Thee sachems in class One belonged to
           the Turtle gens, in class Two to the Wolf gens, and in
           class Three to the Bear gens.]


     1. Ho-dos'-ho-the.    [Footnote: "A man bearing a Burden."]
     2. Ga-no-gweh'-yo-do. [Footnote: "A Man covered in Cat-tail Down."]
     3. Da-yo-ho'-gwen-da. [Footnote: "Opening through the Woods."]

     4. So-no-sase'.          [Footnote: "A Long String."]
     5. To-no-o-ge-o.         [Footnote: "A Man with a Headache."]
     6. Ho-de-o-dun-nent'-ho. [Footnote: "Swallowing Himself."]

     7. Da-wo-do'-o-do-yo.   [Footnote: "Place of the Echo."]
     8. Go-ne-o-dus'-ha-yeh. [Footnote: "War-clubs on the Ground."]
     9. Ho-wus'-ho-da-o.     [Footnote: "A man Steaming Himself."
           The sachems in the first class belong to Wolf gens,
           in the second the Turtle gens, and in the third to
           the Bear gens.]


     1. To-do-do'-ho.   [Footnote: "Tangled," Bear gens.]
     2. To-nes'-sa-ah.
     3. Da-ot'-ga-dose. [Footnote: "On the Watch,"
           Bear gens. This sachem and the one before him were
           hereditary councillors of the To-do-do'-ho, who
           held the most illustrious sachemship.]

     4. Go-neo-do'-je-wake. [Footnote: "Bitter Body," Snipe gens.]
     5. Ah-wo'-ga-yat.      [Footnote: Turtle gens.]
     6. Da-o-yat'-gwo-e.    [Footnote: Not ascertained.]

     7. Ho-no-we-ne-to.     [Footnote: This sachem was hereditary
           keeper of the wampum; Wolf gens.]

     8.  Go-we-ne'-san-do. [Footnote: Deer gens]
     9.  Ho-e'-ho.         [Footnote: Deer gens]
     10. Ho-yo-ne-o'-ne.   [Footnote: Turtle gens]
     11. Sa-do'-kwo-seh.   [Footnote: Bear gens]

     12. So-go-ga-ho'.   [Footnote: "Having a Glimpse," Deer gens.]
     13. Ho-sa-ho'-do.   [Footnote: "Large Mouth," Turtle gens.]
     14. Sko-no'-wun-de. [Footnote: "Over the Creek" Turtle gens.]


     1. Da-go'-ne-yo.       [Footnote: "Man Frightened," Deer gens.]
     2. Da-je-no'-do-web-o. [Footnote: Heron gens.]
     3. Go-do-gwa-sa.       [Footnote: Bear gens.]
     4. So-yo-wase.         [Footnote: Bear gens.]
     5. Ho-de-os'yo-no.     [Footnote: Turtle gens.]

     6. Da-yo-o-yo'go.   [Footnote: Not ascertained.]
     7. Jote-ho-weh'-ko. [Footnote: "Very Cold," Turtle gens.]
     8. De-o-wate'-ho.   [Footnote: Heron gens.]

     9.  To-do-e-ho'. [Footnote: Snipe gens.]
     10. Des-go'-heh. [Footnote: Snipe gens.]


     1. Ga-ne-o-di'-yo.   [Footnote: "Handsome Lake," Turtle gens.]
     2. So-do-go'-o-yase. [Footnote: "Level Heavens," Snipe gens.]

     3. Go-no-gi'-e.   [Footnote: Turtle gens.]
     4. So-geh'-jo-wo. [Footnote: "Great Forehead." Hawk gens.]

     5. So-de-a-no'-wus.   [Footnote: "Assistant," Bear gens.]
     6. Nis-ho-ne-a'-nent. [Footnote: "Falling Day," Snipe gens.]

     7. Go-no-go-e-do'-we. [Footnote: "Hair Burned Off." Snipe gens.]
     8. Do-ne-ho-go'-weh.  [Footnote: "Open Door," Wolf gens.]

Two of these sachemships have been filled but once since their
creation. Ho-yo-went'-ho and Da-go-no-we'-da consented to take the
office among the Mohawk sachems, and to leave their names in the
list upon condition that after their demise the two should remain
thereafter vacant. They were installed upon these terms, and the
stipulation has been observed to the present day. At all councils
for the investiture of sachems their names are still called with the
others as a tribute of respect to their memory. The general council,
therefore, consisted of but forty-eight members.

Each sachem had an assistant sachem, who was elected by the gens of
his principal from among its members, and who was installed with the
same forms and ceremonies. He was styled an "aid." It was his duty
to stand behind his superior on all occasions of ceremony, to act as
his messenger, and in general to be subject to his directions. It
gave to the aid the office of chief and rendered probable his
election as the successor of his principal after the decease of the
latter. In their figurative language these aids of the sachems were
styled "Braces in the Long House," which symbolized the confederacy.

The names bestowed upon the original sachems became the names of
their respective successors in perpetuity. For example, upon the
demise of Go-ne-o-di'-yo, one of the eight Seneca sachems, his
successor would be elected by the Turtle gens in which this
sachemship was hereditary, and when raised up by the general council
he would receive this name, in place of his own, as a part of the
ceremony. On several different occasions I have attended their
councils for raising up sachems both at the Onondaga and Seneca
reservations, and witnessed the ceremonies herein referred to.
Although but a shadow of the old confederacy now remains, it is
fully organized with its complement of sachems and aids, with the
exception of the Mohawk tribe, which removed to Canada about 1775.
Whenever vacancies occur their places are filled, and a general
council is convened to install the new sachems and their aids. The
present Iroquois are also perfectly familiar with the structure and
principles of the ancient confederacy.

For all purposes of tribal government the five tribes were
independent of each other. Their territories were separated by fixed
boundary lines, and their tribal interests were distinct. The eight
Seneca sachems, in conjunction with the other Seneca chiefs, formed
the council of the tribe by which its affairs were administered,
leaving to each of the other tribes the same control over their
separate interests. As an organization the tribe was neither
weakened nor impaired by the confederate compact. Each was in
vigorous life within its appropriate sphere, presenting some analogy
to our own States within an embracing Republic. It is worthy of
remembrance that the Iroquois commended to our forefathers a union
of the colonies similar to their own as early as 1755. They saw in
the common interests and common speech of the several colonies the
elements for a confederation, which was as far as their vision was
able to penetrate.

The tribes occupied positions of entire equality in the confederacy
in rights, privileges, and obligations. Such special immunities as
were granted to one or another indicate no intention to establish an
unequal compact or to concede unequal privileges. There were organic
provisions apparently investing particular tribes with superior power;
as, for example, the Onondagas were allowed fourteen sachems and the
Senecas but eight; and a larger body of sachems would naturally
exercise a stronger influence in council than a smaller. But in this
case it gave no additional power, because the sachems of each tribe
had an equal voice in forming a decision, and a negative upon the
others. When in council they agreed by tribes, and unanimity in
opinion was essential to every public act. The Onondagas were made
"Keepers of the Wampum," and "Keepers of the Council Brand," the
Mohawks "Receivers of Tribute" from subjugated tribes, and the
Senecas "Keepers of the Door" of the Long House. These and some
other similar provisions were made for the common advantage.

The cohesive principle of the confederacy did not spring exclusively
from the benefits of an alliance for mutual protection, but had a
deeper foundation in the bond of kin. The confederacy rested upon
the tribes ostensibly, but primarily upon common gentes. All the
members of the same gens, whether Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas,
Cayugas, or Senecas, were brothers and sisters to each other in
virtue of their descent from the same common ancestor, and they
recognized each other as such with the fullest cordiality. When they
met, the first inquiry was the name of each other's gens, and next
the immediate pedigree of their respective sachems; after which they
were usually able to find, under their peculiar system of
consanguinity the relationship in which they stood to each other.
[Footnote: The children of brothers are themselves brothers and
sisters to each other; the children of the latter were also brothers
and sisters, and so downwards indefinitely. The children and
descendants of sisters are the same. The children of a brother and
sister are cousins; the children of the latter are cousins, and so
downwards indefinitely. A knowledge of the relationships to each
other of the members of the same gens is never lost.]

Three of the gentes--namely, the Wolf, Bear, and Turtle--were common
to the five tribes; these and three others were common to three
tribes. In effect, the Wolf gens, through the division of an
original tribe into five, was now in five divisions, one of which
was in each tribe. It was the same with the Bear and the Turtle
gentes. The Deer, Snipe, and Hawk gentes were common to the Senecas,
Cayugas, and Onondagas. Between the separated parts of each gens,
although its members spoke different dialects of the same language,
there existed a fraternal connection which linked the nations
together with indissoluble bonds. When the Mohawk of the Wolf gens
recognized an Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, or Seneca of the same gens
as a brother, and when the members of the other divided gentes did
the same, the relationship was not ideal, but a fact founded upon
consanguinity, and upon faith in an assured lineage older than their
dialects and coeval with their unity as one people. In the
estimation of an Iroquois every member of his gens, in whatever tribe,
was as certainly a kinsman as an own brother. This cross
relationship between persons of the same gens in the different
tribes is still preserved and recognized among them in all its
original force. It explains the tenacity with which the fragments of
the old confederacy still cling together. If either of the five
tribes had seceded from the confederacy it would have severed the
bond of kin, although this would have been felt but slightly. But
had they fallen into collision it would have turned the gens of the
Wolf against their gentile kindred, Bear against Bear; in a word,
brother against brother. The history of the Iroquois demonstrates
the reality as well as persistency of the bond kin, and the fidelity
with which it was respected. During the long period through which
the confederacy endured they never fell into anarchy nor ruptured
the organization.

The "Long House" (Ho-de'-no-sote) was made the symbol of the
confederacy, and they styled themselves the "People of the Long House"
(Ho-e'-no-sau-nee). [Footnote: The Long House was not peculiar to
the Iroquois, but used by many other tribes, as the Powhattan
Indians of Virginia, the Nyacks of Long Island, and other tribes.]

This was the name, and the only name, with which they distinguished
themselves. The confederacy produced a gentile society more complex
than that of a single tribe, but it was still distinctively a
gentile society. It was, however, a stage of progress in the
direction of a nation, for nationality is reached under gentile
institutions. Coalescence is the last stage in this process. The
four Athenian tribes coalesced in Attica into a nation by the
intermingling of the tribes in the same area, and by the gradual
disappearance of geographical lines between them. The tribal names
and organizations remained in full vitality as before, but without
the basis of an independent territory. When political society was
instituted on the basis of the deme or township, and all the
residents of the deme became a body politic, irrespective of their
gens or tribe, the coalescence became complete.

The coalescence of the Latin and Sabrae gentes into the Roman people
and nation was a result of the same processes. In all alike the gens,
phratry and tribe were the first three stages of organization. The
confederacy followed as the fourth. But it does not appear, either
among the Grecian or Latin tribes in the Later Period of barbarism,
that it became more than a loose league for offensive and defensive
purposes. Of the nature and details of organization of the Grecian
and Latin confederacies our knowledge is limited and imperfect,
because the facts are buried in the obscurity of the traditionary
period. The process of coalescence arises later than the confederacy
in gentile society; but it was a necessary as well as a vital stage
of progress by means of which the nation, the state, and political
society were at last attained. Among the Iroquois tribes it had not
manifested itself.

The valley of Onondaga, as the seat of the central tribe, and the
place where the Council Brand was supposed to be perpetually burning,
was the usual though not the exclusive place for holding the
councils of the confederacy. In ancient times it was summoned to
convene in the autumn of each year but public exigencies often
rendered its meetings more frequent. Each tribe had power to summon
the council, and to appoint the time and place of meeting at the
council house of either tribe, when circumstances rendered a change
from the usual place at Onondaga desirable. But the council had no
power to convene itself.

Originally the principal object of the council was to raise up
sachems to fill vacancies in the ranks of the ruling body occasioned
by death or deposition; but it transacted all other business which
concerned the common welfare. In course of time, as they multiplied
in numbers and their intercourse with foreign tribes became more
extended, the council fell into three distinct kinds, which may be
distinguished as Civil, Mourning, and Religious. The first declared
war and made peace, sent and received embassies, entered into
treaties with foreign tribes, regulated the affairs of subjugated
tribes, and took all needful measures to promote the general welfare.
The second raised up sachems and invested them with office. It
received the name of Mourning Council because the first of its
ceremonies was the lament for the deceased ruler whose vacant place
was to be filled. The third was held for the observance of a general
religious festival. It was made an occasion for the confederated
tribes to unite under the auspices of a general council in the
observance of common religions rites; but as the Mourning Council
was attended with many of the same ceremonies it came in time to
answer for both. It is now the only council they hold, as the civil
powers of the confederacy terminated with the supremacy over them of
the state.

When the sachems met in council at the time and place appointed, and
the usual reception ceremony had been performed, they arranged
themselves in two divisions and seated themselves upon opposite
sides of the council-fire. Upon one side were the Mohawk, Onondaga,
and Seneca sachems. The tribes they represented were, when in council,
brother tribes to each other and father tribes to the other two. In
like manner their sachems were brothers to each other and fathers to
those opposite. They constituted a phratry of tribes and of sachems,
by an extension of the principle which united gentes in a phratry.
On the opposite side of the fire were the Oneida and Cayuga and at a
later day the Tuscarora sachems. The tribes they represented were
brother tribes to each other and son tribes to the opposite three.
Their sachems also were brothers to each other, and sons of those in
the opposite division. They formed a second tribal phratry. As the
Oneidas were a subdivision of the Mohawks, and the Cayugas a
subdivision of the Onondagas or Senecas, they were in reality junior
tribes; whence their relation of seniors and juniors, and the
application of the phratric principle. When the tribes are named in
council the Mohawks, by precedence, are mentioned first. Their
tribal epithet was "The Shield" (Da-go-e-o'-do). The Onondagas came
next, under the epithet of "Name-Bearer" (Ho-de-san-no'-ge-to),
because they had been appointed to select and name the fifty
original sachems. Next in the order of precedence were the Senecas,
under the epithet of "Door-Keeper" (Ho-nan-ne-ho'-ont). They were
made perpetual keepers of the western door of the Long House. The
Oneidas, under the epithet of "Great Tree" (Ne-ar'-de-on dar'-go-war),
and the Cayugas, under that of "Great Pipe" (So-nus'-ho-gwar-to-war),
were named fourth and fifth. The Tuscaroras, who came late into the
confederacy, were named last, and had no distinguishing epithet.
Forms, such as these, were more important in ancient society than we
would be apt to suppose.

Unanimity among the sachems was required upon all public questions,
and essential to the validity of every public act. It was a
fundamental law of the confederacy. They adopted a method for
ascertaining the opinions of the members of the council which
dispensed with the necessity of casting votes. Moreover, they were
entirely unacquainted with the principle of majorities and
minorities in the action of councils. They voted in council by tribes,
and the sachems of each tribe were required to be of one mind to
form a decision. Recognizing unanimity as a necessary principle, the
founders of the confederacy divided the sachems of each tribe into
classes as a means for its attainment. This will be seen by
consulting the table (supra, p 30). No sachem was allowed to express
an opinion in council in the nature of a vote until he had first
agreed with the sachem or sachems of his class upon the opinion to
be expressed, and had been appointed to act as speaker for the class.
Thus the eight Seneca sachems being in four classes, could have but
four opinions, and the ten Cayuga sachems, being in the same number
of classes, could have but four. In this manner the sachems in each
class were first brought to unanimity among themselves. A
cross-consultation was then held between the four sachems appointed
to speak for the four classes; and when they had agreed they
designated one of their number to express their resulting opinion,
which was the answer of their tribe. When the sachems of the several
tribes had, by this ingenious method, become of one mind separately,
it remained to compare their several opinions, and if they agreed
the decision of the council was made. If they failed of agreement
the measure was defeated and the council was at an end. The five
persons appointed to express the decision of the five tribes may
possibly explain the appointment and the functions of the six
electors, so called, in the Aztec confederacy.

By this method of gaining assent the equality and independence of
the several tribes were recognized and preserved. If any sachem was
obdurate or unreasonable, influences were brought to bear upon him,
through the preponderating sentiment, which he could not well resist,
so that it seldom happened that inconvenience or detriment resulted
from their adherence to the rule. Whenever all efforts to procure
unanimity had failed, the whole matter was laid aside because
further action had become impossible.

Under a confederacy of tribes the office of general, "Great War
Soldier," (Hos-go-o-geh'-da-go-wo), makes its first appearance.
Cases would now arise when the several tribes in their confederate
capacity would be engaged in war, and the necessity for a
general commander to direct the movements of the united bands
would be felt. The introduction of this office as a permanent
feature in the government was a great event in the history of human
progress. It was the beginning of a differentiation of the military
from the civil power, which, when completed, changed essentially the
external manifestation of the government; but even in later stages
of progress, when the military spirit predominated, the essential
character of the government was not changed. Gentilism arrested
usurpation. With the rise of the office of general, the government
was gradually changed from a government of one power into a
government of two powers. The functions of government became, in
course of time, co-ordinated between the two. This new office was
the germ of that of a chief executive magistrate for out of the
general came the king, the emperor, and the president, as elsewhere
suggested. The office sprang from the military necessities of
society and had a logical development.

When the Iroquois confederacy was formed, or soon after that event
two permanent war-chiefships were created and named, and both were
assigned to the Seneca tribe. One of them (Ta-wan'-ne-ars,
signifying needle-breaker) was made hereditary in the Wolf, and the
other (So-no'-so-wo, signifying great oyster shell) in the Turtle
gens. The reason assigned for giving them both to the Senecas was
the greater danger of attack at the west end of their territories.
They were elected in the same manner as the sachems, were raised up
by a general council, and were equal in rank and power. Another
account states that they were created later. They discovered
immediately after the confederacy was formed that the structure of
the Long House was incomplete, because there were no officers to
execute the military commands of the confederacy. A council was
convened to remedy the omission, which established the two perpetual
war-chiefs named. As general commanders they had charge of the
military affairs of the confederacy and the command of its joint
forces when united in a general expedition. Governor Blacksnake,
recently deceased, held the office first named, thus showing that
the succession has been regularly maintained. The creation of two
principal war-chiefs instead of one, and with equal powers, argues a
subtle and calculating policy to prevent the domination of a single
man even in their military affairs. They did without experience
precisely as the Romans did in creating two consuls instead of one,
after they had abolished the office of rex. Two consuls would
balance the military power between them, and prevent either from
becoming supreme. Among the Iroquois this office never became

In Indian ethnography the subjects of primary importance are the gens,
phratry, tribe, and confederacy. They exhibit the organization of
society. Next to these are the tenure and functions of the office of
sachem and chief, the functions of the council of chiefs, and the
tenure and functions of the office of principal war-chief. When
these are ascertained the structure and principles of their
governmental system will be known. A knowledge of their usages and
customs, of their arts and inventions, and of their plan of life
will then fill out the picture. In the work of American
investigators too little attention has been given to the former.
They still afford a rich field in which much information may be
gathered. Our knowledge, which is now general, should be made minute
and comparative. The Indian tribes in the Lower and in the Middle
Status of barbarism represent two of the great stages of progress
from savagery to civilization. Our own remote forefathers passed
through the same conditions, one after the other, and possessed,
there can scarcely be a doubt, the same, or very similar institutions,
with many of the same usages and customs. However little we may be
interested in the American Indians personally, their experience
touches us more nearly, as an exemplification of the experience of
our own ancestors. Our primary institutions root themselves in a
prior gentile society in which the gens, phratry, and tribe were the
organic series, and in which the council of chiefs was the
instrument of government. The phenomena of their ancient society
must have presented many points in common with that of the Iroquois
and other Indian tribes. This view of the matter lends an additional
interest to the study of comparative institutions of mankind.

The Iroquois confederacy is an excellent exemplification of a
gentile society under this form of organization. It seems to realize
all the capabilities of gentile institutions in the Lower Status of
barbarism, leaving an opportunity for further development, but no
subsequent plan of government until the institutions of political
society, founded upon territory and upon property, with the
establishment of which the gentile organization would be overthrown.
The intermediate stages were transitional, remaining military
democracies to the end, except where tyrannies founded upon
usurpation were temporarily established in their places. The
confederacy of the Iroquois was essentially democratic, because it
was composed of gentes each of which was organized upon the common
principles of democracy, not of the highest but of the primitive type;
and because the tribes reserved the right of local self-government.
They conquered other tribes and held them in subjection, as for
example the Delawares; but the latter remained under the government
of their own chiefs, and added nothing to the strength of the
confederacy. It was impossible in this state of society to unite
tribes under one government who spoke different languages, or to
hold conquered tribes under tribute with any benefit but the tribute.

This exposition of the Iroquois confederacy is far from exhaustive
of the facts, but it has been carried far enough to answer my
present object. The Iroquois were a vigorous and intelligent people,
with a brain approaching in volume the Aryan average. Eloquent in
oratory, vindictive in war, and indomitable in perseverance, they
have gained a place in history. If their military achievements are
dreary with the atrocities of savage warfare, they have illustrated
some of the highest virtues of mankind in their relations with each
other. The confederacy which they organized must be regarded as a
remarkable production of wisdom and sagacity. One of its avowed
objects was peace--to remove the cause of strife by uniting their
tribes under one government, and then extending it by incorporating
other tribes of the same name and lineage. They urged the Eries and
the Neutral Nation to become members of the confederacy, and for
their refusal expelled them from their borders. Such an insight into
the highest objects of government is creditable to their intelligence.
Their numbers were small, but they counted in their ranks a large
number of able men. This proves the high grade of the stock.

[Footnote: For the prevalence of the organization into gentes or
clans among the Indian tribes, see Ancient Society, ch. vi. Since
the publication of that work the same organization has been found by
Mr. Bandelier by personal exploration among the Pueblo tribes in New
Mexico, who speak the Queris language, among whom his work thus far
has been confined. Descent is in the female line. The same
indefatigable student has found very satisfactory evidence of the
same organization among the ancient Mexicans. (See article on
"The Social Organization and Mode of Government of the Ancient
Mexicans," Peabody Museum, Twelfth Annual Report, p. 576.) He has
also found additional evidence of the same organization among the
Sedentary Tribes in Central America. It seems highly probable that
this organization was anciently universal among the tribes in the
Ganowanian family.]



When America was discovered in its several parts the Indian tribes
were found in dissimilar conditions. The least advanced tribes were
without the art of pottery, and without horticulture, and were,
therefore, in savagery. But in the arts of life they were advanced
as far as is implied by its Upper Status, which found them in
possession of the bow and arrow. Such were the tribes in the Valley
of the Columbia, in the Hudson Bay Territory, in parts of Canada,
California, and Mexico, and some of the coast tribes of South America.
The use of pottery, and the cultivation of maize and plants, were
unknown among them. They depended for subsistence upon fish, bread,
roots, and game. The second class were intermediate between them and
the Village Indians. They subsisted upon fish and game and the
products of a limited horticulture, and were in the Lower Status of
barbarism. Such were the Iroquois, the New England and Virginia
Indians, the Creeks, Cherokees, and Choctaws, the Shawnees, Miamis,
Mandans, Minmtarees, and other tribes of the United States east of
the Missouri River, together with certain tribes of Mexico and South
America in the same condition of advancement. Many of them lived in
villages, some of which were stockaded, but village life was not as
distinctive and common among them as it was among the most advanced
tribes. The third class were the Village Indians proper, who
depended almost exclusively upon horticulture for subsistence,
cultivating maize and plants by irrigation. They constructed joint
tenement houses of adobe bricks and of stone, usually more than one
story high. Such were the tribes of New Mexico, Mexico, Central
America, and upon the plateau of the Andes. These tribes were in the
Middle Status of barbarism.

The weapons, arts, usages, and customs, inventions, architecture,
institutions, and form of government of all alike bear the impress
of a common mind, and reveal, in their wide range, the successive
stages of development of the same original conceptions. Our first
mistake consisted in overrating the degree of advancement of the
Village Indians, in comparison with that of the other tribes; our
second in underrating that of the latter; from which resulted a third,
that of separating one from the other, and regarding them as
different races. The evidence of their unity of origin has now
accumulated to such a degree as to leave no reasonable doubt upon
the question. The first two classes of tribes always held the
preponderating power, at least in North America, and furnished the
migrating bands which replenished the ranks of the Village Indians,
as well as the continent, with inhabitants. It remained for the
Village Indians to invent the process of smelting iron ore to attain
to the Upper Status of barbarism, and, beyond that, to invent a
phonetic alphabet to reach the first stage of civilization. One
entire ethnical period intervened between the highest class of
Indians and the beginning of civilization.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote relocated to chapter end.]

It seems singular that the Village Indians, who first became
possessed of maize, the great American cereal, and of the art of
cultivation, did not rise to supremacy over the continent. With
their increased numbers and more stable subsistence they might have
been expected to extend their power and spread their migrating bands
over the most valuable areas to the gradual displacement of the
ruder tribes. But in this respect they signally failed. The means of
sustaining life among the latter were remarkably persistent. The
higher culture of the Village Indians, such as it was, did not
enable them to advance, either in their weapons or in the art of war,
beyond the more barbarous tribes, except as a superior house
architecture tended to render their villages and their habitations
impregnable to Indian assault. Moreover, in the art of government
they had not been able to rise above gentile institutions and
establish political society. This fact demonstrates the
impossibility of privileged classes and of potentates, under their
institutions, with power to enforce the labor of the people for the
erection of palaces for their use, and explains the absence of such

Horticulture and other domestic arts spread from the Village Indians
to the tribes in the Lower Status of barbarism, and thus advanced
them materially in their onward progress toward the higher condition
of the Village Indians. Numerous tribes were thus raised out of
savagery into barbarism by appropriating the arts of life of tribes
above them. This process has been a constant phenomenon in the
history of the human race. It is well illustrated in America, where
the Red Race, one in origin and possessed of homogeneous institutions,
were in three different ethnical conditions or stages of culture.

There are certain usages and customs of the Indian tribes generally
which tend to explain their plan of life--their large households,
their houses, and their house architecture. They deserve a careful
consideration and even further investigation beyond the bounds of
our present knowledge. The influence of American civilization has
very generally broken up their old plan of life, and introduced a
new one more analogous to our own. It has been much the same in
Spanish America. The old usages and customs, in the particulars
about to be stated, have now so far disappeared in their pure forms
that their recovery is not free from difficulty. Those to be
considered are the following:

I. The law of hospitality.

II. Communism in living.

III. The ownership of lands in common.

IV. The practice of having but one prepared meal each day--a dinner.

V. Their separation at meals, the men eating first and by themselves,
and the women and children afterwards.

The discussion will be confined to the period of European discovery
and to later periods while these practices remained. The object will
be to show that these usages and customs existed among them when
America was discovered in its several parts, and that they remained
in practice for some time after these several periods.


Among the Iroquois hospitality was an established usage. If a man
entered an Indian house in any of their villages, whether a villager,
a tribesman, or a stranger, it was the duty of the women therein to
set food before him. An omission to do this would have been a
discourtesy amounting to an affront. If hungry, he ate; if not hungry,
courtesy required that he should taste the food and thank the giver.
This would be repeated at every house he entered, and at whatever
hour in the day. As a custom it was upheld by a rigorous public
sentiment. The same hospitality was extended to strangers from their
own and from other tribes. Upon the advent of the European race
among them it was also extended to them. This characteristic of
barbarous society, wherein food was the principal concern of life,
is a remarkable fact. The law of hospitality, as administered by the
American aborigines, tended to the final equalization of subsistence.
Hunger and destitution could not exist at one end of an Indian
village or in one section of an encampment while plenty prevailed
elsewhere in the same village or encampment. It reveals a plan of
life among them at the period of European discovery which has not
been sufficiently considered.

A singular illustration of the powerful influence of the custom upon
the Indian mind came to my notice some years ago at the Seneca
Reservation in New York. A Seneca chief, well to do in the world,
with farm lands and domestic animals which afforded him a
comfortable subsistence, had lost his wife by death, and his daughter,
educated in the usages of civilized life, took the position of
housekeeper. The old man, referring to the ancient custom, requested
his daughter to keep the usual food constantly prepared ready to
offer to any person who entered their house, saying that he did not
wish to see this custom of their forefathers laid aside. Their
changed condition, and particularly the adoption of the regular
meals of civilized society, for the time of which the visitor might
reasonably be expected to wait, did not in his mind outweigh the
sanctity of the custom. [Footnote: William Parker was the chief named,
a noble specimen of a Seneca Iroquois.]

In July, 1743, John Bartram made a journey from Philadelphia to
Onondaga to attend, with Conrad Weisar, a council of the Onondaga,
Mohawk, Oneida, and Cayuga chiefs. At Shamokin he quartered with a
trader who had an Indian wife, and at a village of the Delawares.
"As soon as we alighted," he remarks, "they showed us where to lay
our luggage, and then brought us a bowl of boiled squashes, cold.
This I then thought poor entertainment, but before I came back I had
learned not to despise good Indian food. This hospitality is
agreeable to the honest simplicity of ancient times, and is so
persistently adhered to that not only what is already dressed is
immediately set before a traveler, but the most pressing business is
postponed to prepare the best they can get for him, keeping it as a
maxim that he must always be hungry. Of this we found the good
effects in the flesh and bread they got ready for us." [Footnote:
Bartram's Observations, &c, London edition, 1751, p. 16.] We have
here a perfect illustration among the Delawares of the Iroquois rule
to set food before a person when he first entered the house.
Although they had in this case nothing better than boiled squash to
offer, it was done immediately, after which they commenced preparing
a more substantial repast. Delaware and Iroquois usages were the same.

The council at Onondaga lasted two days, at the close of which they
had each day a dinner in common. "This council [first day] was
followed by a feast. After four o'clock we all dined together upon
four great kettles of Indian-corn soup, which we emptied, and then
every chief retired to his home.... The conference [second day] held
till three, after which we dined. The repast consisted of three
great kettles of Indian-corn soup, or thin hominy, with dried eels
and other fish boiled in it, and one kettle full of young squashes
and their flowers boiled in water, and a little meal mixed. This
dish was but weak food. Last of all was served a great bowl-full of
Indian dumplings made of new soft corn cut or scraped off the ear,
with the addition of some boiled beans, lapped well in Indian-corn
leaves. This is good hearty provision." [Footnote: Bartram's
Journal p. 59.]

"Again," he remarks, "we prepared for setting forward, and many of
the chiefs came once more to make their farewells. Some of them
brought us provisions for our journey. We shook hands again and set
out at nine." [Footnote: ib. p. 63]

One of the earliest notices of the hospitality of the Indian tribes
of the United States was by the expedition of Philip Amidas and
Arthur Barlow, under the auspices of Sir Walter Raleigh, which
visited the Algonkin tribes of North Carolina in the summer of 1584.
They landed at the Island of Wocoken, off Albemarle Sound, when
"there came down from all parts great store of people," whose chief
was Granganimeo. "He was very just of his promises, for oft we
trusted him, and would come within his day to keep his word. He sent
us commonly every day a brace of ducks, conies, hares, and fish,
sometimes melons, walnuts, cucumbers, pease, and divers roots....
After this acquaintance, myself, with seven more, went thirty miles
into the river Occam, that runneth toward the city Skicoack, and the
evening following we came to an isle called Roanoak, from the harbor
where we entered seven leagues: At the north end were nine houses,
builded with cedar, fortified round with sharp trees [palisaded] and
the entrance like a turnpike [turnspit]. When we came towards it,
the wife of Granganimeo came running out to meet us (her husband was
absent) commanding her people to draw our boat ashore for beating on
the billows. Others she appointed to carry us on their backs aland,
others to bring our oars into the house for stealing. When we came
into the other room (for there were five in the house) she caused us
to sit down by a great fire; and after took off our clothes and
washed them, of some our stockins, and some our feet in warm water,
and she herself took much pains to see all things well ordered and
to provide us victuals. After we had thus dried ourselves she
brought us into an inner room, where she sat on the board standing
along the house, somewhat like frumenty, sodden venison and roasted
fish; in like manner melons raw, boiled roots, and fruits of divers
kinds. Their drink is commonly water boiled with ginger, sometimes
with sassafras, and wholesome herbs.... A more kind, loving people
cannot be. Beyond this isle is the main land, and the great river
Occam, on which standeth a town called Pomeiok." [Footnote: Smith's
History of Virginia, &c. Reprint from London edition of 1627.
Richmond edition, 1819, i, 83, 84. Amidas and Barlow's account is
also in Hakluyt's Coll. of Voyages, iii, 301-7.]

This is about the first, if not the first, English picture we have
of Indian life and of English and Indian intercourse in America. It
is highly creditable to both parties; to the Indians for their
unaffected kindness and hospitality, and to the English for their
appreciation of both, and for the absence of any act of injustice.
At the same time it was simply an application by the natives of
their rules of hospitality among themselves to their foreign visitors,
and not a new thing in their experience.

In the narrative of the expedition of Hernando de Soto to Florida in
1539, by a gentleman of Elvas, there are references to the customs
of the Indian tribes of South Carolina, the Cherokees, Choctas, and
Chickasas, and of some of the tribes west of the Mississippi, whom
the expedition visited one after another. They are brief and
incomplete, but sufficiently indicate the point we are attempting to
illustrate. It was a hostile rather than a friendly visitation, and
the naturally free hospitality of the natives was frequently checked
and turned into enmity, but many instances of friendly intercourse
are mentioned in this narrative. "The fourth of April the governor
passed by a town called Altamaca, and the tenth of the month he came
to Ocute. The cacique sent him two thousand Indians with a present,
to wit, many conies and partridges, bread of maize, two hens and
many dogs." [Footnote: Historical Collections of Louisiana, part ii.
A Narrative of the Expedition of Hernando de Soto into Florida, by a
Gentleman of Elvas, p. 139.]

Again: "Two leagues before he came to Chiaha, there met him fifteen
Indians loaded with maize which the cacique had sent; and they told
him on his behalf that he waited his coming with twenty barns full
of it." [Footnote: 3 ib. p. 147.] "At Cora the chief commanded his
Indians to void their houses, wherein the governor and his men were
lodged. There was in the barns and in the fields great store of
maize and French beans. The country was greatly inhabited with many
great towns and many sown fields which reached from one to the other".
[Footnote: ib. p 152.]

After crossing the Mississippi, of which De Soto was the first
discoverer, he "rested in Pacaha forty days, in all which time the
two caciques served him with great store of fish, mantles, and skins,
and strove who should do him greatest service". [Footnote: ib. p.

The justly celebrated Moravian missionary, John Heckewelder, obtained,
through a long experience, an intimate acquaintance with the manners
and customs of the Indian tribes. He was engaged in direct
missionary labor, among the Delawares and Munsees chiefly, for
fifteen years (1771-1786) on the Muskingum and Cuyahoga in Ohio,
where, besides the Delawares and Munsees, he came in contact with
Tuscaroras and other tribes of Iroquois lineage. He was conversant
with the usages and customs of the Indian tribes of Pennsylvania and
New York. His general knowledge justifies the title of his work,
"History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations, who once
inhabited Pennsylvania and the neighboring States," and gives the
highest credibility to his statements.

In discussing the general character of the Indians, he remarks as
follows: "They think that he [the Great Spirit] made the earth and
all that it contains for the common good of mankind; when he stocked
the country that he gave them with plenty of game, it was not for
the benefit of a few, but of all. Everything was given in common to
the sons of men. Whatever liveth on the land, whatsoever groweth out
of the earth, and all that is in the rivers and waters flowing
through the same, was given jointly to all, and ever one is entitled
to his share. From this principle hospitality flows as from its
source. With them it is not a virtue, but a strict duty; hence they
are never in search of excuses to avoid giving, but freely supply
their neighbors' wants from the stock prepared for their own use.
They give and are hospitable to all without exception, and will
always share with each other and often with the stranger to the last
morsel. They rather would lie down themselves on an empty stomach
than have it laid to their charge that they had neglected their duty
by not satisfying the wants of the stranger, the sick, or the needy.
The stranger has a claim to their hospitality, partly on account of
his being at a distance from his family and friends, and partly
because he has honored them with his visit and ought to leave them
with a good impression on his mind; the sick and the poor because
they have a right to be helped out of the common stock, for if the
meat they have been served with was taken from the woods it was
common to all before the hunter took it; if corn or vegetables, it
had grown out of the common ground, yet not by the power of man, but
by that of the Great Spirit." [Footnote: Heckewelder, Indian Nations,
Philadelphia ed., 1876, p. 101]

This is a clear and definite statement of the principle of
hospitality as it was observed by the Indian tribes at the epoch of
their discovery, with the Indians' reasons on which the obligations
rested. We recognize in this law of hospitality a conspicuous virtue
of mankind in barbarism.

Lewis and Clarke refer to the usages of the tribes of the Missouri,
which were precisely the same as those of the Iroquois. "It is the
custom of all the nations on the Missouri," they remark, "to offer
every white man food and refreshments when he first enters their
tents". [Footnote: Travels, etc., London edition, 1814, p. 649.]

This was simply applying their rules of hospitality among themselves
to their white visitors.

About 1837-1838 George Catlin wintered at the Mandan Village, on the
Upper Missouri. He was an accurate and intelligent observer, and his
work on the "Manners and Customs of the North American Indians" is a
valuable contribution to American ethnography. The principal Mandan
village, which then contained fifty houses and fifteen hundred people,
was surrounded with a palisade. It was well situated for game, but
they did not depend exclusively upon this source of subsistence.
They cultivated maize, squashes, pumpkins, and tobacco in garden beds,
and gathered wild berries and a species of turnip on the prairies.
"Buffalo meat, however," says Mr. Catlin, "is the great staple and
staff of life in this country, and seldom, if ever, fails to afford
them an abundant means of subsistence."

       *       *       *       *       *

"During the summer and fall months they use the meat fresh, and cook
it in a great variety of ways--by roasting, broiling, boiling,
stewing, smoking, &c., and, by boiling the ribs and joints with the
marrow in them, make a delicious soup, which is universally used and
in vast quantities. The Mandans, I find, have no regular or stated
times for their meals, but generally eat about twice in the
twenty-four hours. The pot is always boiling over the fire, and any
one who is hungry, either from the household or from any other part
of the village, has a right to order it taken off and to fall too,
eating as he pleases. Such is an unvarying custom among the North
American Indians, and I very much doubt whether the civilized world
have in their institutions any system which can properly be called
more humane and charitable. Every man, woman, or child in Indian
communities is allowed to enter any one's lodge, and even that of
the chief of the nation, and eat when they are hungry, provided
misfortune or necessity has drawn them to it. Even so can the
poorest and most worthless drone of the nation, if he is too lazy to
hunt or to supply himself; he can walk into any lodge, and every one
will share with him as long as there is anything to eat. He, however,
who thus begs when he is able to hunt, pays dear for his meat, for
he is stigmatized with the disgraceful epithet of poltroon and beggar."
[Footnote: Manners and Customs of the North American Indians,
Hazard's edition, 1857, i, 200.] Mr. Catlin puts the case rather
strongly when he turns the free hospitality of the household into a
right of the guest to entertainment independently of their consent.
It serves to show that the provisions of the household, which as he
elsewhere states, consisted of from twenty to forty persons, were
used in common, and that each household shared their provisions in
the exercise of hospitality with any inhabitant of the village who
came to the house hungry, and with strangers from other tribes as
well. Moreover, he speaks of this hospitality as universal amongst
the Indian tribes. It is an important statement, because few men in
the early period of intercourse with the western tribes have
traveled so extensively among them.

The tribes of the Columbia Valley lived upon fish, bread-roots, and
game. Food was abundant at certain seasons, but there were times of
scarcity even in this favored area. Whatever provisions they had
were shared freely with each other, with guests, and with strangers.
Lewis and Clarke, in 1804-1806, visited in their celebrated
expedition the tribes of the Missouri and of the Valley of the
Columbia. They experienced the same generous hospitality whenever
the Indians possessed any food to offer, and their account is the
first we have at all special of these numerous tribes. Frequent
references are made to their hospitality. The Nez Perces "set before
them a small piece of buffalo meat, some dried salmon, berries, and
several kinds of roots. Among these last is one which is round and
much like an onion in appearance and sweet to the taste. It is
called quamash, and is eaten either in its natural state or boiled
into a kind of soup or made into a cake, which is then called pasheco.
After the long abstinence, this was a sumptuous treat; and we
returned the kindness of the people by a few small presents, and
then went on in company with one of the chiefs to a second village,
in the same plain at a distance of two miles. Here the party was
treated with great kindness and passed the night." [Footnote: Travels,
etc., p. 330.]

Of another tribe they remark, "As we approached the village most of
the women, though apprised of our being expected, fled with their
children into the neighboring woods. The men, however, received us
without any apprehension, and gave us a plentiful supply of
provisions. The plains were now crowded with Indians who came to see
the persons of the whites, and the strange things they brought with
them; but as our guide was perfectly a stranger to their language we
could converse by signs only." [Footnote: Travels, etc., p. 334.]

The Indians of the Columbia, unlike the tribes previously named,
boiled their food in wooden vessels, or in ground cavities lined
with skins, by means of heated stones. They were ignorant of pottery.
"On entering one of their houses he [Captain Clarke] found it
crowded with men, women, and children, who immediately provided a
mat for him to sit on, and one of the party undertook to prepare
something to eat. He began by bringing in a piece of pine wood that
had drifted down the river, which he split into small pieces with a
wedge made of the elk's horn by means of a mallet of stone curiously
carved. The pieces were then laid on the fire, and several round
stones placed upon them. One of the squaws now brought a bucket of
water, in which was a large salmon about half dried, and as the
stones became heated they were put into the bucket till the salmon
was sufficiently boiled for use. It was then taken out, put on a
platter of rushes neatly made, and laid before Captain Clarke, and
another was boiled for each of his men." [Footnote: Travels, p. 353.]

One or two additional cases of which a large number are mentioned by
these authors will sufficiently illustrate the practice of
hospitality of these tribes and its universality. They went to a
village of seven houses of the Chilluckittequaw tube and to the
house of the chief. "He received us kindly," they remark, "and set
before us pounded fish, filberts, nuts, the berries of the sacacommis,
and white bread made of roots.... The village is a part of the same
nation with the village we passed above, the language of the two
being the same, and their houses of similar form and materials, and
calculated to contain about thirty souls. The inhabitants were
unusually hospitable and good humored." [Footnote: Travels, etc.,
p. 375-376.]

While among the Shoshones, and before arriving at the Columbia they
"reached an Indian lodge of brush inhabited by seven families of the
Shoshones. They behaved with great civility, and gave the whole
party as much boiled salmon as they could eat, and added a present
of several dried salmon and a considerable quantity of chokechinies;"
[Footnote: ib. p. 288.] and Captain Lewis remarks of the same people,
that "an Indian invited him into his bower, and gave him a small
morsel of boiled antelope, and a piece of fresh salmon roasted. This
was the first salmon he had seen, and perfectly satisfied him that
he was now on the waters of the Pacific." [Footnote: ib. p. 268.]

Thus far among the tribes we find a literal repetition of the rule
of hospitality as practiced by the Iroquois. Mr. Dall, speaking of
the Aleuts, says, "hospitality was one of their prominent traits,"
[Footnote: On the Remains of Later Prehistoric Man, Alaska Ter.
Smithsonian Cont., No. 318, p. 3. Travels, etc., Phila. ed., 1796,
p. 171.] and Powers, of the Pomo Indians of California remarks, that
"they would always divide the last morsel of dried salmon with
genuine savage thriftlessness," and of the Mi-oal'-a-wa-gun, that,
"like all California Indians they are very hospitable." [Footnote:
Powell's Contributions to North American Ethnology, Power's Tribes
of California, vol. iii. p. 153.]

Father Marquette and Lieutenant Joliet, who first discovered the
Upper Mississippi in 1673, had friendly intercourse with some of the
tribes on its eastern bank, and were hospitably entertained by them.
"The council being over, we were invited to a feast, which consisted
of four dishes. The first was a dish of sagamite--that is, some
Indian meal boiled in water and seasoned with grease--the master of
ceremonies holding a spoonful of it, which he put thrice into my
mouth and then did the like to M. Joliet. The second dish consisted
of three fish, whereof he took a piece, and having taken out the
bones and blown upon it to cool it, he put it into my mouth. The
third dish was a large dog, which they had killed on purpose, but
understanding that we did not eat this animal they sent it away. The
fourth was a piece of buffalo meat, of which they put the fattest
pieces into our mouths." [Footnote: Historical Collections of
Louisiana. part ii. An Account of the Discovery of some New
Countries and Nations of North America in 1673, by Pere Marquette
and Sieur Joliet, p. 287.]

Lower down the river, below the mouth of the Ohio, they fell in with
another tribe, of whom they speak as follows. "We therefore
disembarked and went to their village. They entertained us with
buffalo and bear's meat and white plums, which were excellent. We
observed they had guns, knives, axes, shovels, glass beads, and
bottles in which they put their powder. They wear their hair long as
the Iroquois, and their women are dressed as the Hurons."
[Footnote: ib,. p. 293]

In 1766 Jonathan Carver visited the Dakota tribes of the Mississippi,
the Sauks and Foxes, and Winnebagos of Wisconsin, and the Ojibwas of
Upper Michigan. He speaks generally of the hospitality of these
tribes as follows: "No people are more hospitable, kind, and free
than the Indians. They will readily share with any of their own
tribe the last part of their provisions, and even with those
of a different nation, if they chance to come in when they are
eating. Though they do not keep one common stock, yet that
community of goods which is so prevalent among them, and their
generous disposition, render it nearly of the same effect."
[Footnote: Carver's Travels, etc. Phila. ed. 1796, p. 171.]

The "community of goods, which is so prevalent among them," is
explained by their large households formed of related families, who
shared their provisions in common. The "seven families of Shoshones"
in one house, and also the houses "crowded with men, women, and
children," mentioned by Lewis and Clarke, are fair samples of Indian
households in the early period.

We turn again to the southern tribes of the United States, the
Cherokees, Choctas, Chickasas, and Confederated Creek tribes. James
Adair, whose work was published in 1775, remarks generally upon
their usages in the following language. "They are so hospitable,
kind-hearted, and free, that they would share with those of their
own tribe the last part of their own provisions, even to a single
ear of corn; and to others, if they called when they were eating;
for they have no stated meal time. An open generous temper is a
standing virtue among them; to be narrow-hearted, especially to
those in want, or to any of their own family, is accounted a great
crime, and to reflect scandal on the rest of the tribe. Such
wretched misers they brand with bad characters.... The Cherokee
Indians have a pointed proverbial expression to the same effect--
simtaweh ne wara, the great hawk is at home. However, it is a very
rare thing to find any of them of a narrow temper; and though they
do not keep one promiscuous common stock, yet it is to the very same
effect; for every one has his own family or tribe; and when one of
them is speaking, either of the individuals or habitations of any of
his tribe, he says, 'he is of my house,' or 'it is my house'....
When the Indians are traveling in their own country, they inquire
for a house of their own tribe [gens]; and if there be any, they go
to it, and are kindly received, though they never saw the persons
before--they eat, drink, and regale themselves with as much freedom
as at their own table, which is the solid ground covered with a
bear-skin.... Every town has a state-house or synedrion, as the
Jewish sanhedrim, where, almost every night, the head men convene
about public business; or the town's people to feast, sing, dance,
and rejoice in the divine presence, as will fully be described
hereafter. And if a stranger calls there, he is treated with the
greatest civility and hearty kindness--he is sure to find plenty of
their simple home fare, and a large cane-bed covered with the
softened skins of bears or buffaloes to sleep on. But, when his
lineage is known to the people (by a stated custom, they are slow in
greeting one another), his relations, if he has any there, address
him in a familiar way, invite him home, and treat him as a kinsman."
[Footnote: History of the American Indians, London ed., 1775, p. 17.]

All these tribes were organized in gentes or clans, and the gentes
of each tribe were usually reintegrated in two or more phratries. It
is the gens to which Mr. Adair refers when he speaks of the
"family," "relations," and "lineage." We find among them the same
rule of hospitality, substantially, as prevailed among the Iroquois.

It is a reasonable conclusion, therefore, that among all the tribes,
north of New Mexico, the law of hospitality, as practiced by the
Iroquois, was universally recognized; and that in all Indian
villages and encampments without distinction the hungry were fed
through the open hospitality of those who possessed a surplus.
Notwithstanding this generous custom, it is well known that the
Northern Indians were often fearfully pressed for the means of
subsistence during a portion of each year. A bad season for their
limited productions, and the absence of accumulated stores, not
unfrequently engendered famine over large districts. From the
severity of the struggle for subsistence, it is not surprising that
immense areas were entirely uninhabited, that other large areas were
thinly peopled, and that dense population nowhere existed.

Among the Village Indians of New Mexico the same hospitality is now
extended to Americans visiting their pueblos, and which
presumptively is simply a reflection of their usage among themselves
and toward other tribes. In 1852 Dr. Tenbroeck, assistant surgeon
United States Army, accompanied his command to the Moki pueblos. In
his journal he remarks: "Between eleven and twelve to-day we arrived
at the first towns of Moki. All the inhabitants turned out, crowding
the streets and house-tops to have a view of the white men. All the
old men pressed forward to shake hands with us, and we were most
hospitably received and conducted to the governor's house, where we
were at once feasted upon guavas and a leg of mutton broiled upon
the coals. After the feast we smoked with them, and they then said
that we should move our camp in, and that they would give us a room
and plenty of wood for the men, and sell us corn for the animals."
[Footnote: Schoolcraft's History, Condition, and Prospects of the
Indian Tribes, iv. 81.]

In 1858 Lieut. Joseph C. Ives was at the Moki Pueblo of Mooskahneh
[Mi-shong-i-ni-vi]. "The town is nearly square," he remarks,
"and surrounded by a stone wall fifteen feet high, the top of which
forms a landing extending around the whole. Flights of stone steps
lead from the first to a second landing, upon which the doors of the
houses open. Mounting the stairway opposite to the ladder, the chief
crossed to the nearest door and ushered us into a low apartment,
from which two or three others opened towards the interior of the
dwelling. Our host courteously asked us to be seated upon some skins
spread along the floor against the wall and presently his wife
brought in a vase of water and a tray filled with a singular
substance that looked more like sheets of thin blue wrapping paper
rolled up into bundles than anything else that I have ever seen. I
learned afterwards that it was made of corn meal, ground very fine,
made into a gruel, and poured over a heated stone to be baked. When
dry it has a surface slightly polished like paper. The sheets are
folded and rolled together, and form the staple article of food with
the Moki Indians. As the dish was intended for our entertainment,
and looked clean, we all partook of it. It had a delicate
fresh-bread flavor, and was not at all unpalatable, particularly
when eaten with salt." [Footnote: Report upon Colorado River of the
West, Lieut. Ives, p. 121.]

Lieutenant-Colonel (now General) Emory visited the Pima villages on
the Gila River in 1846. "I rode leisurely in the rear through the
thatched huts of the Pimas. Each abode consisted of a dome-shaped
wicker-work about six feet high, and from twenty to fifty feet in
diameter, thatched with straw or cornstalks. In front is usually a
large arbor, on top of which is piled the cotton on the pod for
drying. In the houses were stowed watermelons, pumpkins, beans, corn,
and wheat, the three last articles generally in large baskets.
Sometimes the corn was in baskets, covered with earth, and placed on
the tops of the domes. A few chickens and dogs were seen, but no
other domestic animals except horses, mules, and oxen.... Several
acquaintances formed in our camp yesterday, were recognized, and
they received me cordially, made signs to dismount, and when I did
so offered watermelons and pinole. Pinole is the heart of Indian corn,
baked, ground up, and mixed with sugar. When dissolved in water it
affords a delicious beverage; it quenches thirst, and is very
nutritious.... The population of the Pimas and Maricopas together is
estimated variously at from three to ten thousand. The first is
evidently too low. This peaceful and industrious race are in
possession of a beautiful and fertile basin. Living remote from the
civilized world they are seldom visited by whites, and then only by
those in distress, to whom they generously furnish horses and food."
[Footnote: Military Reconnaissance in New Mexico, pp. 85, 86.]

In this case and in those stated by Lieutenant Ives and Dr.
Tenbroeck we find a repetition of the Iroquois rule to set food
before the guest when he first enters the house.

With respect to the Village Indians of Mexico, Central and South
America, our information is, in the main, limited to the hospitality
extended to the Spaniards; but it is sufficient to show that it was
a part of their plan of life, and, as it must be supposed, a
repetition of their usages in respect to each other. In every part
of America that they visited, the Spaniards, although often in
numbers as a military force, were assigned quarters in Indian houses,
emptied of their inhabitants for that purpose, and freely supplied
with provisions. Thus at Zempoala "the lord came out, attended by
ancient men, two persons of note supporting him by the arms, because
it was the custom among them to come out in that manner when one
great man received another. This meeting was with much courtesy and
abundance of compliments, and people were already appointed to find
the Spaniards quarters and furnish provisions" [Footnote: Herrera's
History of America, ii, 212.]

When near Tlascala the Tlascallans "sent three hundred turkeys, two
hundred baskets of cakes of teutli, which they call tamales, being
about two hundred arrobas; that is, fifty hundred weight of bread,
which was an extraordinary supply for the Spaniards, considering the
distress they were in;" and when at Tlascala, Cortes and his men
"were generously treated, and supplied with all necessaries."
[Footnote: ib., ii. 261, 279.]

"They entered Cholula and went to a house where they lodged
altogether, and their Indians with them, although upon their guard,
being for the present plentifully supplied with provisions."
[Footnote: ib., ii, 311]

Although the Spaniards numbered about four hundred, and their allied
Indians about a thousand, they found accommodations in a single
joint tenement house of the Aboriginal American model. Attention is
called to this fact, because we shall find the Village Indians, as a
rule, living in large houses, each containing many apartments, and
accommodating five hundred or more persons. The household of several
families of the northern Indians reappears in the southern tribes in
a much greater household of a hundred or more families in a single
joint tenement house, but not unlikely broken up into several
household groups. The pueblo consisted sometimes of one, sometimes
of two or three, and sometimes of a greater number of such houses.
The plan of life within these houses is not well understood, but it
can still be seen in New Mexico, and it is to be hoped it will
attract investigation.

Speaking of the Maya Indians of Yucatan, Herrera remarks that
"they are still generous and free-hearted, so that they will make
everybody eat that comes into their houses, which is everywhere
practiced in traveling." [Footnote: Herrera's History of America,
iv, 117.]

This is a fair statement of the Iroquois law of hospitality found
among the Mayas, practiced among themselves and towards strangers
from other tribes. When Grijalva, about 1517, discovered the Tabasco
River, he held friendly intercourse with some of the tribes of
Yucatan. "They immediately sent thirty Indians loaded with roasted
fish, hens, several sorts of fruit, and bread made of Indian wheat."
[Footnote: ib., ii, 126]

When Cortes, in 1525, made his celebrated expedition to Honduras, he
passed near the pueblo of Palenque and near that of Copan without
being aware of either, and visited the shore of Lake Peten.
"Being well received in the city of Apoxpalan, Cortes and all the
Spaniards, with their horses, were quartered in one house, the
Mexicans being dispersed into others, and all of them plentifully
supplied with provisions during their stay." [Footnote: ib., iii, 359.]

They numbered one hundred and fifty Spanish horse and several
hundred Aztecs. It was at this place, according to Herrera, that
Quatemozin, who accompanied Cortes as a prisoner, was barbarously
executed by his command. [Footnote: ib., iii, 361.] Cortes next
visited an island in Lake Peten, where he was sumptuously
entertained by Canec, the chief of the tribe, where they "sat down
to dinner in stately manner, and Canec ordered fowls, fish cakes,
honey, and fruit." [Footnote: ib., iii, 362.]

In South America the same account of the hospitality of the Indian
tribes is given by the early explorers. About the year 1500
Christopher Guerra made a voyage to the coast of Venezuela:
"They came to an anchor before a town called Curiana, where the
Indians entreated them to go ashore, but the Spaniards being no more
than thirty-three in all durst not venture.... At length, being
convinced of their sincerity, the Spaniards went ashore, and being
courteously entertained, staid there twenty days. They plentifully
supplied them for food with venison, rabbits, geese, ducks, parrots,
fish, bread made of maize or Indian wheat, and other things, and
brought them all the game they would ask for.... They perceived
that they kept markets or fairs, and that they made use of jars,
pitchers, pots, dishes, and porringers, besides other vessels of
several shapes." [Footnote: Herrera's Hist. America, iv, 248.]

Pizarro found the same custom among the Peruvians and other tribes
of the coast. At the time of his first visit to the coast of Peru he
found a female chief by whom he was entertained. "The lady came out
to meet them with a great retinue, in good order, holding green
boughs and ears of Indian wheat, having made an arbor where were
seats for the Spaniards, and for the Indians at some distance. They
gave them to eat fish and flesh dressed in several ways, much fruit,
and such bread and liquor as the country afforded." [Footnote: ib.,
i, 229.]

When on the coast of Tumbez, and before landing, "ten or twelve
floats were immediately sent out with a plenty of provisions, fruits,
pots of water, and of chica, which is their liquor, as also a lamb."
[Footnote: ib., iv, 3.]

After entering Peru, on his second visit to the coast, "Atahuallpa's
messengers came and presented the governor with ten of their sheep
from the Inca, and some other things of small value, telling him
very courteously that Atahuallpa had commanded them to inquire what
day he intended to be at Caxamalca, that he might have provisions on
the way." [Footnote: ib., iii, 399.]

       *       *       *       *       *

"The next day more messengers came from Atahuallpa with provisions,
which he received with thanks.". [Footnote: ib., iv, 244.]

The native historian, Garcilasso de la Viga, remarks: "Nor were the
Incas, among their other charities, forgetful of the conveniences
for travelers, but in all the great roads built houses or inns for
them, which they called corpahuaci, where they were provided with
victuals and other necessaries for their journeys out of the royal
stores; and in case any traveler fell sick on the way, he was there
attended and care taken of him in a better manner perhaps than at
his own home." [Footnote: Royal Commentaries of Peru, Lond. ed., 1688;
Recent Trans., p 145.]

These illustrations, which might be multiplied, are sufficient to
show the universality of the practice of hospitality among the
Indian tribes of America at the epoch of European discovery. Among
all these forms, as stated by different observers, the substance of
the Iroquois law of hospitality is plainly found, namely: If a man
entered an Indian house, whether a villager, a tribesman, or a
stranger, and at whatever hour of the day, it was the duty of the
women of the house to set food before him. An omission to do this
would have been a discourtesy amounting to an affront. If hungry, he
ate, if not hungry, courtesy required that he should taste the food
and thank the giver. It is seen to have been a usage running through
three ethnic conditions of the Indian race, becoming stronger as the
means of subsistence increased in variety and amount, and attaining
its highest development among the Village Indians in the Middle
Status of barbarism. It was an active, well-established custom of
Indian society, practiced among themselves and among strangers from
other tribes, and very naturally extended to Europeans when they
made their first appearance among them. Considering the number of
the Spaniards often in military companies, and another fact which
the aborigines were quick to notice, namely, that a white man
consumed and wasted five times as much as an Indian required, their
hospitality in many cases must have been grievously overtaxed.
[Footnote: "The appetite of the Spaniards appeared to the American
inhabitants voracious; and they affirmed that one Spaniard devoured
more food in a day than was sufficient for ten Americans."--
(Robertson's History of America, Lond. ed., 1856, i, p. 72.)]

Attention has been called to this law of hospitality, and to its
universality, for two reasons: firstly, because it implies the
existence of common stores, which supplied the means for its practice;
and secondly, because, wherever found, it implies communistic living
in large households. It must be evident that this hospitality could
not have been habitually practiced by the Iroquois and other
northern tribes, and much less by the Village Indians of Mexico,
Central and South America, with such uniformity, if the custom in
each case had depended upon the voluntary contributions of single
families. In that event it would have failed oftener than it would
have succeeded. The law of hospitality, as administered by the
American aborigines, indicates a plan of life among them which has
not been carefully studied, nor have its effects been fully
appreciated. Its explanation must be sought in the ownership of
lands in common, the distribution of their products to households
consisting of a number of families, and the practice of communism in
living in the household. Common stores for large households, and
possibly for the village, with which to maintain village hospitality,
are necessary to explain the custom. It could have been maintained
on such a basis, and it is difficult to see how it could have been
maintained on any other. The common and substantially universal
practice of this custom, among the American Indian Tribes, at the
period of their discovery, among whom the procurement of subsistence
was their vital need, must be regarded as evidence of a generous
disposition, and as exhibiting a trait of character highly
creditable to the race.


  Subperiods.       Conditions.     Subperiods.       Conditions.
Older Period ..... Lower Status    Older Period .... Lower Status
Middle Period .... Middle Status   Middle Period ... Middle Status
Later Period ..... Upper Status    Later Period .... Upper Status.

                      PERIOD OF CIVILIZATION


OLDER PERIOD OF SAVAGERY.--From the infancy of the human race
to the knowledge of fire and the acquisition of fish subsistence.

MIDDLE PERIOD.--From the acquisition of a fish subsistence to
the invention of the bow and arrow.

LATER PERIOD.--From the invention of the bow and arrow to the
invention of the art of pottery.

OLDER PERIOD OF BARBARISM.--From a knowledge of pottery to the
domestication of animals in the eastern hemisphere, and in the
western to the cultivation of maize and plants by irrigation.

MIDDLE PERIOD.--From the domestication of animals, &c., to the
invention of the process of smelting iron ore.

LATER PERIOD.--From the knowledge of iron to the invention of a
phonetic alphabet, or the use of hieroglyphs upon stone as an

CIVILIZATION.--From the invention of a phonetic alphabet and
the use of letters in literary composition to the present time.]



We are now to consider the remaining usages and customs named in the
last chapter.


Communism in living had its origin in the necessities of the family,
which, prior to the Later Period of barbarism, was too weak an
organization to face alone the struggle of life. In savagery and in
the Older and the Middle Period of barbarism the family was in the
syndyasmian or pairing form into which it had passed from a previous
lower form. [Footnote: Ancient Society, p. 459.]

Wherever the gentile organization prevailed, several families,
related by kin, united as a rule in a common household and made a
common stock of the provisions acquired by fishing and hunting, and
by the cultivation of maize and plants. They erected joint tenement
houses large enough to accommodate several families, so that,
instead of a single family in the exclusive occupation of a single
house, large households as a rule existed in all parts of America in
the aboriginal period. This community of provisions was limited to
the household; but a final equalization of the means of subsistence
was in some measure affected by the law of hospitality. To a very
great extent communism in living was a necessary result of the
condition of the Indian tribes. It entered into their plan of life
and determined the character of their houses. In effect it was a
union of effort to procure subsistence, which was the vital and
commanding concern of life. The desire for individual accumulation
had not been aroused in their minds to any sensible extent. It is
made evident by a comparison of the conditions of barbarous tribes
on different continents that communism has widely prevailed among
them, and that the influence of this ancient practice had not
entirely disappeared among the more advanced tribes when
civilization finally appeared. The common meal-bin of the ancient
and the common tables of the later Greeks seem to be survivals of an
older communism in living. This practice, though never investigated
as a specialty, may be shown by the known customs of a number of
Indian tribes, and may be confirmed by an examination of the plans
of their houses.

Our first illustration will be taken from the usages of the Iroquois.
In their villages they constructed houses, consisting of frames of
poles covered with bark, thirty, fifty, eighty, and a hundred feet
in length, with a passage-way through the center, a door at each end,
and with the interior partitioned off at intervals of about seven
feet. Each apartment or stall thus formed was open for its entire
width upon the passage-way. These houses would accommodate five, ten,
and twenty families, according to the number of apartments, one
being usually allotted to a family. Each household was made up on
the principle of kin. The married women, usually sisters, own or
collateral, were of the same gens or clan, the symbol or totem of
which was often painted upon the house, while their husbands and
the wives of their sons belong to several other gentes. The
children were of the gens of their mother. While husband and
wife belonged to different gentes, the preponderating number
in each household would be of the same gens, namely, that of
their mothers. As a rule the sons brought home their wives, and
in some cases the husbands of the daughters were admitted to
the maternal house. Thus each household was composed of a
mixture of persons of different gentes; but this would not
prevent the numerical ascendency of the particular gens to
whom the house belonged. In a village of one hundred and twenty
houses, as the Seneca village of Tiotohatton described by
Mr. Greenbalgh i n 1677, there would be several such houses
belonging to each gens. It presented a general picture of Indian
life in all parts of America at the epoch of European discovery.
[Footnote: Documentary History of New York, i, 13.]

Whatever was gained by any member of the household on hunting or
fishing expeditions, or was raised by cultivation, was made a common
stock. Within the house they lived from common stores. Each house
had several fires, usually one for each four apartments, which was
placed in the middle of the passage-way and without a chimney. Every
household was organized under a matron who supervised its domestic
economy. After the single daily meal was cooked at the several fires
the matron was summoned, and it was her duty to divide the food,
from the kettle, to the several families according to their
respective needs. What remained was placed in the custody of another
person until it was required by the matron. The Iroquois lived in
houses of this description as late as A. D. 1700, and in occasional
instances a hundred years later. An elderly Seneca woman informed
the writer, thirty years ago, that when she was a girl she lived in
one of these joint tenement houses (called by them long-houses),
which contained eight families and two fires, and that her mother
and her grandmother, in their day, had acted as matrons over one of
these large households. [Footnote: The late Mrs. William Parker, of

This mere glimpse at the ancient Iroquois plan of life, now entirely
passed away, and of which remembrance is nearly lost, is highly
suggestive. It shows that their domestic economy was not without
method, and it displays the care and management of woman, low down
in barbarism, for husbanding their resources and for improving their
condition. A knowledge of these houses, and how to build them, is
not even yet lost among the Senecas. Some years ago Mr. William
Parker, a Seneca chief, constructed for the writer a model of one of
these long-houses, showing in detail its external and internal

The late Rev. Ashur Wright, DD., for many years a missionary among
the Senecas, and familiar with their language and customs, wrote to
the author in 1873 on the subject of these households, as follows:
"As to their family system, when occupying the old long-houses, it
is probable that some one clan predominated, the women taking in
husbands, however, from the other clans; and sometimes, for a novelty,
some of their sons bringing in their young wives until they felt
brave enough to leave their mothers. Usually, the female portion
ruled the house, and were doubtless clannish enough about it. The
stores were in common; but woe to the luckless husband or lover who
was too shiftless to do his share of the providing. No matter how
many children or whatever goods he might have in the house, he might
at any time be ordered to pick up his blanket and budge; and after
such orders it would not be healthful for him to attempt to disobey;
the house would be too hot for him; and unless saved by the
intercession of some aunt or grandmother he must retreat to his own
clan, or as was often done, go and start a new matrimonial alliance
in some other. The women wore the great power among the clans, as
everywhere else. They did not hesitate, when occasion required, to
'knock off the horns,' as it was technically called, from the head
of a chief and send him back to the ranks of the warriors. The
original nomination of the chiefs also always rested with them."

The mother-right and gyneocracy among the Iroquois here plainly
indicated is not overdrawn. The mothers and their children, as we
have seen, were of the same gens, and to them the house belonged. It
was a gentile house. In case of the death of father or mother, the
apartments they occupied could not be detached from the kinship, but
remained to its members. The position of the mother was eminently
favorable to her influence in the household, and tended to
strengthen the maternal bond. We may see in this an ancient phase of
human life which has had a wide prevalence in the tribes of
mankind, Asiatic, European, African, American, and Australian. Not
until after civilization had begun among the Greeks, and gentile
society was superseded by political society, was the influence
of this old order of society overthrown. It left behind, at least
among the Grecian tribes, deep traces of its previous existence.

[Footnote: These statements illustrate the gyneocracy and
mother-right among the ancient Grecian tribes discussed by Bachofen
in "Das Mutterrecht." The phenomena discovered by Bachofen owes
its origin, probably, to descent in the female line, and to the
junction of several families in one house, on the principle of kin,
as among the Iroquois.]

Among the Iroquois, those who formed a household and cultivated
gardens gathered the harvest and stored it in their dwelling as a
common stock. There was more or less of individual ownership of
these products, and of their possession by different families. For
example, the corn, after stripping back the husk, was braided by the
husk in bunches and hung up in the different apartments; but when
one family had exhausted its supply, their wants were supplied by
other families so long as any remained. Each hunting and fishing
party made a common stock of the capture, of which the surplus, on
their return, was divided among the several families of each
household, and, having been cured, was reserved for winter use The
village did not make a common stock of their provisions, and thus
offer a bounty to imprudence It was confined to the household But
the principle of hospitality then came in to relieve the
consequences of destitution We can speak with some confidence of the
ancient usages and customs of the Iroquois; and when any usage is
found among them in a definite and positive form, it renders
probable the existence of the same usage in other tribes in the same
condition, because their necessities were the same.

In the History of Virginia, by Capt. John Smith, the houses of the
Powhatan Indians are partially described, and are found to be much
the same as those of the Iroquois We have already quoted from this
work the description of a house on Roanoke Island containing five
chambers. Speaking of the houses in the vicinity of James River in
1606-1608, he remarks, "Their houses are built like our arbors, of
small young sprigs bowed and tied, and so close covered with mats,
or the bark of trees, very handsomely, that notwithstanding either
wind, rain, or weather, they are as warm as stoves but very smoky,
yet at the top of the house there is a hole made for the smoke to go
into right over the fire. Against the fire they lie on little
hurdles of reeds covered with a mat, borne from the ground a foot
and more by a hurdle of wood On these, round about the house, they
lie, heads and points, one by the other, against the fire, some
covered with mats, some with skins, and some stark naked lie on the
ground, from six to twenty in a house.... In some places are from
two to fifty of these houses together, or but little separated by
groves of trees." [Footnote: Smith's History of Virginia, Richmond
ed., 1819, i, 130]

The noticeable fact in this statement is the number of persons in
the house, which shows a household consisting of several families
Their communism in living may be inferred Elsewhere he speaks of
"houses built after their manner, some thirty, some forty yards long,"
and speaking of one of the houses of Powhatan he says, "This house
is fifty or sixty yards in length," and again, at Pamunk, "A great
fire was made in a long-house, a mat was spread on one side as on
the other, and on one side they caused him to sit." [Footnote: 5,
Ib, 1, 142, 143; Smith's Hist. Va., Richmond ed., 1819, i, 160.]

We here find among the Virginia Indians at the epoch of their
discovery long-houses very similar to the long-houses of the Iroquois,
with the same evidence of a large household. It may safely be taken
as a rule that every Indian household in the aboriginal period,
whether large or small, lived from common stores.

Mr. Caleb Swan, who visited the Creek Indians of Georgia in 1790,
found the people living in small houses or cabins, but in clusters,
each cluster being occupied by a part of a gens or clan. He remarks
that "the smallest of their towns have from ten to forty houses, and
some of the largest from fifty to two hundred, that are tolerably
compact. These houses stand in clusters of four, five, six,
seven, and eight together.... Each cluster of houses contains
a clan or family of relations who eat and live in common."
[Footnote: Schoolcraft's Hist. Cond. and Pros. of Indian Tribes,
vol. v. 262.]

Here the fact of several families uniting on the principle of kin,
living in a cluster of houses, and practicing communism, is
expressly stated.

James Adair, writing still earlier of the southern Indians of the
United States generally, remarks in a passage before quoted, as
follows: "I have observed, with much inward satisfaction, the
community of goods that prevailed among them.... And though they do
not keep one promiscuous common stock, yet it is to the very same
effect, for every one has his own family or tribe, and when any one
is speaking either of the individuals or habitations of his own
tribe, he says, 'He is of my house,' or, 'It is my house.'"
[Footnote: History of the American Indians, p. 17.]

It is singular that this industrious investigator did not notice,
what is now known to be the fact, that all these tribes were
organized in gentes and phratries. It would have rendered his
observations upon their usages and customs more definite. Elsewhere
he remarks further that "formerly the Indian law obliged every town
to work together in one body, in sewing or planting their crops,
though their fields were divided by proper marks, and their harvest
is gathered separately. The Cherokees and Muscogees [Creeks] still
observe that old custom, which is very necessary for such idle people."
[Footnote: ib., p. 430.]

They cultivated, like the Iroquois, three kinds of maize, an
"early variety," the "hominy corn," and the "bread corn," also beans,
squashes, pumpkins, and tobacco. [Footnote: History of the American
Indians, p. 430] Chestnuts, a tuberous root something like the
potato but gathered in the marshes, berries, fish, and game, entered
into their subsistence. Like the Iroquois, they made unleavened
bread of maize flour, which was boiled in earthen vessels, in the
form of cakes, about six inches in diameter and an inch thick.
[Footnote: ib. pp. 406, 408.] Among the tribes of the plains, who
subsist almost exclusively upon animal food, their usages in the
hunt indicate the same tendency to communism in food. The Blackfeet,
during the buffalo hunt, follow the herds on horseback in large
parties, composed of men, women, and children. When the active
pursuit of the herd commences, the hunters leave the dead animals in
the track of the chase to be appropriated by the first persons who
come up behind. This method of distribution is continued until all
are supplied. All the Indian tribes who hunt upon the plains, with
the exception of the half-blood Crees, observe the same custom of
making a common stock of the capture. It tended to equalize, at the
outset, the means of subsistence obtained. They cut the beef into
strings, and either dried it in the air or in the smoke of a fire.
Some of the tribes made a part of the capture into pemmican, which
consists of dried and pulverized meat mixed with melted buffalo fat,
which is baled in the hide of the animal.

During the fishing season in the Columbia River, where fish are more
abundant than in any other river on the earth, all the members of
the tribe encamp together, and make a common stock of the fish
obtained. They are divided each day according to the number of women,
giving to each an equal share. At the Kootenay Falls, for example,
they are taken by spearing, and in huge baskets submerged in the
water below the falls. The salmon, during the spring run, weigh from
six to forty pounds, and are taken in the greatest abundance, three
thousand a day not being an unusual number. Father De Smet, the late
Oregon missionary, informed the writer, in 1862, that he once spent
several days with the Kootenays at these falls, and that the share
which fell to him, as one of the party, loaded, when dried, thirty
pack mules. The fish are split open, scarified, and dried on
scaffolds, after which they are packed in baskets and then removed
to their villages. This custom makes a general distribution of the
capture, and leaves each household in possession of its share.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote relocated to chapter end.]

Their communism in living is involved in the size of the household,
which ranged from ten to forty persons. "The houses of the Sokulks
are made of large mats of rushes, and are generally of a square or
oblong form, varying in length from fifteen to sixty feet; the top
is covered with mats, leaving a space of twelve or fifteen inches,
the whole length of the house, for the purpose of admitting the
light and suffering the smoke to pass through; the roof is nearly
flat ... and the house is not divided into apartments, the fire
being in the middle of the large room, and immediately under the
hole in the roof.... On entering one of these houses he [Captain
Clarke] found it crowded with men, women, and children, who
immediately provided a mat for him to sit on, and one of the party
immediately undertook to prepare something to eat." [Footnote: Lewis
and Clarke's Travels, pp. 351-353.]

Again: "He landed before five houses close to each other, but no one
appeared, and the doors, which were of mats, were closed. He went
towards one of them with a pipe in his hand, and pushing aside the
mat entered the lodge, where he found thirty-two persons, chiefly
men and women, with a few children, all in the greatest consternation."
[Footnote: ib., p. 357.] And again: "This village being part of the
same nation with the village we passed above, the language of the
two being the same, and their houses being of the same form and
materials, and calculated to contain about thirty souls."
[Footnote: ib., p. 376.]

In enumerating the people Lewis and Clarke often state the number of
inhabitants with the number of houses, thus:

"The Killamucks, who number fifty houses and a thousand souls."

"The Chilts, who ... are estimated at seven hundred souls and
thirty-eight houses."

"The Clamoitomish, of twelve houses and two hundred and sixty souls."

"The Potoashees, of ten houses and two hundred souls."

"The Pailsk, of ten houses and two hundred souls."

"The Quinults, of sixty houses and one thousand souls."

[Footnote: Lewis and Clarke's Travels, pp. 426-428.]

Speaking generally of the usages and customs of the tribes of the
"Columbia plains," they make the following statements: "Their large
houses usually contain several families, consisting of the parents,
their sons and daughters-in-law and grandchildren, among whom the
provisions are common, and whose harmony is scarcely ever
interrupted by disputes. Although polygamy is permitted by their
customs, very few have more than a single wife, and she is brought
immediately after the marriage into the husband's family, where she
resides until increasing numbers oblige them to seek another house.
In this state the old man is not considered the head of the family,
since the active duties, as well as the responsibility, fall on some
of the younger members. As these families gradually expand into bands,
or tribes, or nations, the paternal authority is represented by the
chief of each association. This chieftain, however, is not hereditary."
[Footnote: ib., p. 443.] Here we find among the Columbian tribes, as
elsewhere, communism in living, but restricted to large households
composed of several families.

A writer in Harper's Magazine, speaking of the Aleutians, remarks:
"When first discovered this people were living in large yurts, or
dirt houses, partially underground ... having the entrances through
a hole in the top or centre, going in and out on a rude ladder.
Several of these ancient yurts were very large, as shown by the ruins,
being from thirty to eighty yards long and twenty to forty in width....
In these large yurts the primitive Aleuts lived by fifties and
hundreds for the double object of protection and warmth."
[Footnote: Harper's Magazine, vol. 55, p. 806.]

Whether these tribes at this time were organized in gentes and
phratries is not known. At the time of the Wilkes expedition
(1838-1842) the gentile organization did not exist among them;
neither does it now exist; but it is still found among the tribes
of the Northwest Coast, and among the Indian tribes generally. The
composition of the household, as here described, is precisely like
the household of the Iroquois prior to A.D. 1700.

The Mandan village contained at the time of Catlin's visit (1832),
as elsewhere stated, about fifty houses and about fifteen hundred
people. "These cabins are so spacious," Catlin remarks, "that they
hold from twenty to forty persons--a family and all their connections....
From the great numbers of the inmates in these lodges they are
necessarily very spacious, and the number of beds considerable. It
is no uncommon thing to see these lodges fifty feet in diameter
inside (which is an immense room), with a row of these curtained
beds extending quite around their sides, being some ten or twelve of
them, placed four or five feet apart, and the space between them
occupied by a large post, fixed quite firmly in the ground, and six
or seven feet high, with large wooden pegs or bolts in it, on which
are hung or grouped, with a wild and startling taste, the arms and
armor of the respective proprietors." [Footnote: North American
Indians, Philadelphia ed., 1857, i, 139.]

The household, according to the custom of the Indians, was a large
one. The number of inhabitants divided among the number of houses
would give an average of thirty persons to each house. It is evident
from several statements of Catlin before given that the household
practiced communism in living, and that it was formed of related
families, on the principle of gentile kin, as among the Iroquois.
Elsewhere he intimates that the Mandans kept a public store or
granary as a refuge for the whole community in a time of scarcity.
[Footnote: ib., i, 210.]

In like manner Carver, speaking generally of the usages and customs
of the Dakota tribes and of the tribes of Wisconsin, remarks that
"they will readily share with any of their own tribe the last part
of their provisions, and even with those of a different nation, if
they chance to come in when they are eating. Though they do not keep
one common store, yet that community of goods which is so prevalent
among them, and their generous disposition, render it nearly of the
same effect." [Footnote: Travels, etc, p. 171.]

What this author seems to state is that community of goods existed
in the household, and that it was lengthened out to the tribe by the
law of hospitality. Elsewhere, speaking of the large village of the
Sauks, he says: "This is the largest Indian town I ever saw. It
contains about ninety houses, each large enough for several families."
[Footnote: Travels, etc., Phila. ed. 1796, p. 29.]

In a previous chapter (supra p. 49.) Heckewelder's observations upon
hospitality among the Delawares and Munsees, implying the principle
of communism, have been given. He remarks further that "there is
nothing in an Indian's house or family without its particular owner.
Every individual knows what belongs to him, from the horse or cow
down to the dog, cat, kitten, and little chicken.... For a litter of
kittens or a brood of chickens there are often as many different
owners as there are individual animals. In purchasing a hen with her
brood one frequently has to deal for it with several children. Thus,
while the principle of community of goods prevails in the State, the
rights of property are acknowledged among the members of the family.
This is attended with a very good effect, for by this means every
living creature is properly taken care of." [Footnote: Indian Nations,
p. 158.]

I do not understand what Heckewelder means by the remark that
"the principle of community of goods prevails in the state," unless
it be that the rule of hospitality was so all-pervading that it was
tantamount to a community of goods, while individual property was
everywhere recognized until it was freely surrendered. This may be
the just view of the result of their communism and hospitality, but
it is a higher one than I have been able to take.

The household of the Mandans consisting of from twenty to forty
persons, the households of the Columbian tribes of about the same
number, the Shoshone household of seven families, the households of
the Sauks, of the Iroquois, and of the Creeks each composed of
several families, are fair types of the households of the Northern
Indians at the epoch of their discovery. The fact is also
established that these tribes constructed as a rule large joint
tenement houses, each of which was occupied by a large household
composed of several families, among whom provisions were in common,
and who practiced communism in living in the household.

Among the Village Indians of New Mexico a more advanced form of
house architecture appears, and their joint tenement character is
even more pronounced. They live in large houses, two, three, and
four stories high, constructed of adobe brick, and of stone imbedded
in adobe mortar, and containing fifty, a hundred, two hundred, and
in some cases five hundred apartments in a house. They are built in
the terraced form, with fireplaces and chimneys added since their
discovery, the first story closed up solid, and is entered by ladders,
which ascend to the platform-roof of the first story. These houses
are fortresses, and were erected as strongholds to resist the
attacks of the more barbarous tribes by whom they were perpetually
assailed. Each house was probably occupied by a number of household
groups, whose apartments were doubtless separated from each other by
partition walls. In a subsequent chapter the character of these
houses will be more fully shown.

Our knowledge of the plan of life in these houses in the aboriginal
period is still very imperfect. They still practice the old
hospitality, own their lands in common, but with allotments to
individuals and to families, and are governed by a cacique or sachem
and certain other officers annually elected. An American missionary
to the Laguna Village Indians, Rev. Samuel Gorman, in an address
before the Historical Society of New Mexico in 1869, remarks as
follows: "They generally marry very young, and the son-in-law
becomes the servant of the father-in-law, and very often they all
live together in one family for years, even if there be several
sons-in-law; and this clannish mode of living is often, if not
generally, a fruitful source of evil among this people. Their women
generally have control over the granary, and they are more provident
than their Spanish neighbors about the future. Ordinarily they try
to have one year's provisions on hand. It is only when they have two
years of scarcity succeeding each other that pueblos as a community
suffer hunger." [Footnote: Address, p. 14.]

The usages of these Indians have doubtless modified in the last two
hundred years under Spanish influence; they have decreased in numbers,
and the family group is probably smaller than formerly. But it is
not too late to recover the aboriginal plan of life among them if
the subject were intelligently investigated. It is to be hoped that
some one will undertake this work.

The Spanish writers do not mention the practice of communism in
living as existing among the Village Indians of Mexico or Central
America. They are barren of practical information concerning their
mode of life; but we have the same picture of large households
composed of several families, whose communism in the household may
reasonably be inferred.

We have also the striking illustration of "Montezuma's Dinner,"
hereafter to be noticed, which was plainly a dinner in common by a
communal household. Beside these facts we have the ownership of
lands in common by communities of persons. Moreover, the ruins of
ancient houses in Central and South America, and in parts of Mexico,
show very plainly their joint tenement character. From the plans of
these houses the communism of the people by households may be
deduced theoretically with reasonable certainty.

Yucatan, when discovered, was occupied by a number of tribes of Maya
Indians. The Maya language spread beyond the limits of Yucatan. This
region, with Chiapas, Guatemala, and a part of Honduras, contained
and still contains evidence, in the ruins of ancient structures, of
a higher advancement in the arts of life than any other part of
North America. The present Maya Indians of Yucatan are the
descendants of the people who occupied the country at the period of
the Spanish conquest, and who occupied the massive stone houses now
in ruins, from which they were forced by Spanish oppression.

We have a notable illustration of communism in living among the
present Maya Indians, as late as the year 1840, through the work of
John L Stephens. At Nohcacab, a few miles east of the ruins of Uxmal,
Mr. Stephens, having occasion to employ laborers, went to a
settlement of Maya Indians, of whom he gives the following account:
"Their community consists of a hundred labradores, or working men;
their lands are held and wrought in common, and the products are
shared by all. Their food is prepared at one hut, and every family
sends for its portion, which explains a singular spectacle we had
seen on our arrival, a procession of women and children, each
carrying an earthen bowl containing a quantity of smoking hot broth,
all coming down the same road, and disappearing among the different
huts. Every member belonging to the community, down to the smallest
pappoose, contributing in turn a hog. From our ignorance of the
language, and the number of other and more pressing matters claiming
our attention, we could not learn all the details of their internal
economy, but it seemed to approximate that improved state of
association which is sometimes heard of among us; and as theirs has
existed for an unknown length of time, and can no longer be
considered merely experimental, Owen on Fourier might perhaps take
lessons from them with advantage." [Footnote: Incidents of Travel in
Yucatan, ii, 14.]

A hundred working men indicate a total of five hundred persons, who
were then depending for their daily food upon a single fire, the
provisions being supplied from common stores, and divided from the
caldron. It is, not unlikely, a truthful picture of the mode of life
of their forefathers in the "House of the Nuns," and in the
"Governor's House" at Uxmal, at the epoch of the Spanish conquest.

It is well known that Spanish adventurers captured these pueblos,
one after the other, and attempted to enforce the labor of the
Indians for personal ends, and that the Indians abandoned their
pueblos and retreated into the inaccessible forests to escape
enslavement, after which their houses of stone fell into decay, the
ruins of which, and all there ever was of them, still remain in all
parts of these countries.

It is hardly supposable that the communism here described by Mr.
Stephens was a new thing to the Mayas; but far more probable that it
was a part of their ancient mode of life, to which these ruined
houses were eminently adapted. The subject of the adaptation of the
old pueblo houses in Yucatan and Central America to communism in
living will be elsewhere considered.

When Columbus first landed on the island of Cuba, he sent two men
into the interior, who reported that "they traveled twenty-two
leagues, and found a village of fifty houses, built like those
before spoken of, and they contained about one thousand persons,
because a whole generation lived in a house; and the prime men came
out to meet them, led them by the arms, and lodged them in one of
these new houses, causing them to sit down on seats ... and they
gave them boiled roots to eat, which tasted like chestnuts."
[Footnote: Herrera, i, 55.]

One of the first expeditions which touched the main land on the
coast of Venezuela in South America found much larger houses than
these last described. "The houses they dwelt in were common to all,
and so spacious that they contained one hundred and sixty persons,
strongly built, though covered with palm-tree leaves, and shaped
like a bell." [Footnote: ib., 216.]

Herrera further remarks of the same tribe, that "they observed no
law or rule in matrimony, but took as many wives as they would, and
they as many husbands, quitting one another at pleasure, without
reckoning any wrong done on either part. There was no such thing as
jealousy among them, all living as best pleased them, without taking
offense at one another." [Footnote: ib., i, 216.]

This shows communism in husbands as well as wives, and rendered
communism in food a necessity of their condition. Elsewhere the same
author speaks of the habitations of the tribes on the coast of
Carthagena. "Their houses were like long arbors, with several
apartments, and they had no beds but hammocks." [Footnote: ib., 348.]
Many similar statements are scattered through his work.

Among the more advanced tribes of Peru the lands were divided, and
allotted to different uses; one part was for the support of the
government, another for the support of religion, and another for
the support of individuals. The first two parts were cultivated by
the people under established regulations, and the crops were placed
in public storehouses. This is the statement of Garcilasso.
[Footnote: Royal Com. l. c., pp. 154, 157.]

Herrera, however, says generally that the people lived from common
stores. "The Spaniards drawing near to Caxamalca begun to have a
view of the Inca army lying near the bottom of a mountain.... They
were pleased to see the beauty of the fields, most regularly
cultivated, for it was an ancient law among these people that all
should be fed from common stores, and none should touch the standing
corn." [Footnote: Herrera, iv, 249.] The discrepancy between Herrera
and Garcilasso may perhaps be explained by the reservation of the
crops grown on lands set apart for the government and for religion.

The reason for presenting the foregoing observations of different
authors concerning the households, the houses, and the practice of
communism in food, has been to show, firstly, that the household of
the Indian tribes was a large one, composed of several families;
secondly, that their houses were constructed to accommodate several
families; and thirdly, that the household practiced communism in
living. These are the material facts, and they have been
sufficiently illustrated. The single family of civilized society
live from common stores, yet it is not communism; but where several
families coalesce in one common household and make a common stock of
their provisions, and this is found to be a general rule in entire
tribes, it is a form of communism important to be noticed. It is
seen to belong to a society in a low stage of development, where it
springs from the necessities of their condition. These usages and
customs exhibit their plan of life, and reveal the wide difference
between their condition and that of civilized society; between the
Indian family, without individuality, and the highly individualized
family of civilization.

[Relocated Footnote: Alfred W. Howitt, F. G. S., Bariusdale,
Australia, mentions, in a letter to the author, the following
singular custom of an Australian tribe concerning the distribution
of food in the family group:

A man catches seven river eels; they are divided thus (it is
supposed that his family consists only of these named):

1st eel. Front half himself; hind half his wife.

2d eel. Front half his wife's mother; hind half his wife's sister.

3d eel. Front half his elder sons; hind half his younger sons.

4th eel. Front half his elder daughters; hind half his younger

5th eel. Front half his brother's sons; hind half his brother's

6th eel. One whole eel to his married daughter's husband.

7th eel. One whole eel to his married daughter.

This custom may be supposed to show the ordinary household group,
and the order of their relative nearness to Ego. It foots up himself
and wife, wife's mother and sister, his sons and daughters, his
brother's sons and daughters, and his daughter's husband. It implies
also other members of the household, who are obliged to take care of
themselves: viz. his brothers and sisters.]




Among the Iroquois the tribal domain was held and owned by the tribe
in common. Individual ownership, with the right to sell and convey
in fee-simple to any other person, was entirely unknown among them.
It required the experience and development of the two succeeding
ethnical periods to bring mankind to such a knowledge of property in
land as its individual ownership with the power of alienation in
fee-simple implies. No person in Indian life could obtain the
absolute title to land, since it was vested by custom in the tribe
as one body; and they had no conception of what is implied by a
legal title in severalty with power to sell and convey the fee. But
he could reduce unoccupied land to possession by cultivation, and so
long as he thus used it he had a possessory right to its enjoyment
which would be recognized and respected by his tribe. Gardens
planting-lots, apartments in a long-house, and, at a later day,
orchards of fruit were thus held by persons and by families. Such
possessory right was all that was needed for their full enjoyment
and for the protection of their interest in them. A person might
transfer or donate his rights to other persons of the same tribe,
and they also passed by inherence, under established customs, to his
gentile kin. This was substantially the Indian system in respect to
the ownership of lands and apartments in houses among the Indian
tribes within the areas of the United States and British America in
the Lower Status of barbarism. In later times, when the State or
National Government acquired Indian lands and made compensation
therefor, payment for the lands went to the tribe, and for
improvements to the individual who had the possessory right. At the
Tonawanda Reservation of the Seneca-Iroquois, a portion of the lands
are divided into separate farms, which are fenced and occupied in
severalty, while the remainder are owned by the tribe in common.
When a young man marries and has no land on which to subsist, the
chiefs may allot him a portion of these reserved lands. The title to
all these lands, occupied and unoccupied, remains in the tribe in
common. Individuals may sell or rent their possessory rights to each
other, or rent them to a white man. No white man can now acquire a
title from an Indian to Indian lands in any part of the United States.
A person could transfer his possessions to another, but apartments
in a house must remain to his gentile kindred. In the time of James
II the right to acquire lands was vested in the Crown exclusively as
a royal prerogative, to which prerogative our State and National
Governments succeeded.

The same usages prevail on the Tuscarora Reservation, near the
Niagara River, where this Iroquois tribe owns in common about 8,000
acres of fine agricultural land in one body. A part of this
reservation has long been parceled out to individuals in small farms,
fenced, and cultivated by the possessors. The remainder is
unparceled and under the control of the chiefs. The people are
allowed to remove from the wood-land of the reserve the dead wood
and litter but are not permitted to touch the standing timber. When
a young man marries, if he has no land the chiefs allot him forty
acres to cultivate for his subsistence; but, before giving him
possession, the lot is first open to all the tribe to cut off the
timber for fire-wood. Thus the double object is gained of supplying
the people with fire-wood and of clearing the land for cultivation
for the new family. These possessory rights pass by inheritance to
the recognized heirs. A person may transfer or rent his possession
to another person; he may rent to a white man, but in no case can he
sell to a white man.

And here I may be allowed a brief digression, to notice a recent
opinion of the late Secretary of the Interior, Hon. Carl Schurz,
shared in to some extent by the National Government, in relation to
the division of our Indian reservations into lots or tracts, and
their conveyance in severalty to the Indians themselves, with power
of alienation to white men after a short period, say twenty-five
years. It is to be hoped that this policy will never be adopted by
any National Administration, as it is fraught with nothing but
mischief to the Indian tribes. The Indian is still, as he always has
been, and will remain for many years to come, entirely incapable of
meeting the white man, with safety to himself, in the field of trade
and of resisting the arts and inducements which would be brought to
bear upon him. He is incapable of steadily attaching that value to
the ownership of land which its importance deserves, or of knowing
how far the best interests of himself and family are involved in its
continued possession. The result of individual Indian ownership,
with power to sell, would unquestionably be, that in a very short
time he would divest himself of every foot of land and fall into
poverty. The case of the Shawnee tribe of Kansas affords a perfect
illustration of this pernicious policy. The Shawnees were removed to
Kansas under the Jackson policy, so called, and occupied a splendid
reservation on the Kansas River, where they were told they were to
make their home forever. But after a few years of undisturbed
possession, our people, in the natural flow of population, reached
Kansas, where they found the Shawnees in possession of the best part
of what has since been the State of Kansas. Our people at once
wanted these Indian lands, and they determined to root out the
Shawnees in the interest of civilization and progress. They
accomplished this result in the most speedy and scientific manner,
using as their proposed lever this identical plan since adopted by
Mr. Schurz. First, the government was induced to re-purchase a part
of the reservation on the ground that they had more land than they
needed for cultivation; and, secondly, the government induced the
Indians to have the remainder divided up into farms and conveyed to
heads of families in severalty, with power of alienation. In 1859,
when this scheme was being worked out, I visited Kansas, and found
the Shawnee's cultivating and improving their farms, some of which
embraced a thousand acres, and owning them, too, like other farmers.
When next in Kansas, ten years later, the work was done. There was
not a Shawnee in Kansas, but American farmers were in possession of
all these lands. It was this individual ownership with power to sell
that had done the work.

In managing the affairs of our Indian tribes, we must apply a little
common sense to their condition. In their brains they are in the
same stage of growth and development with our remote forefathers
when they learned to domesticate animals, and, came to rely upon a
meat and milk subsistence. The next condition of advancement at
which the Indian would naturally reach is the pastoral, the raising
of flocks and herds of domestic animals. The Indian has taught
himself to raise the horse in herds, and some of the tribes raise
sheep and goats. A few of them raise cattle. If the government could
assist them in this until they were started, they would soon become
expert herdsmen; would make a proper use of the unoccupied prairie
area in the interior of the continent as well as of the reservations,
and would become prosperous and abundant in their resources.

Among the sedentary Village Indians of New Mexico, who were in the
Middle Status of barbarism, the land system is much the same in
principle, but with special usages adapted to a more advanced
condition. At Taos, the pueblo lands are held under a Spanish grant
of 1689, covering four Spanish square leagues. This grant was
afterward confirmed, as I am informed by David J. Miller, esq., of
the surveyor-general's office at Santa Fe, by letters patent of the
United States. It is, of course, to the Taos Indians in common as a
tribe, and without the power of alienation except among themselves.
These lands have been allotted from time to time to individuals, and
held in severalty for cultivation; but these allotments, so to call
them, are verbal, and the rights of persons to their possession are
settled and adjusted by the chiefs in case of disputes. Mr. Miller
wrote me from Taos, under date of December 5, 1877, that "A
land-owner cannot, under any circumstance, sell to any but a Pueblo
Indian, and one of this (Taos) pueblo. If he should do so he would
be banished the pueblo, and the sale be treated as void." There is
an instance now in this pueblo of a San Juan Indian man married here,
but he is not allowed to acquire land in the pueblo premises. His
wife has lands which he cultivates. A piece of land belonging to a
man may or may not be utilized by him, but it is recognized and
treated as his in fee until he sell it or dies. If a lad grows up
and marries, and his father or father-in-law has no land to give him,
he may purchase in the pueblo, or the pueblo may assign him land,
whereby the title in fee as private property remains in him until he
sells or dies. When he dies it is divided equally among widow and
children. If the children are small, his brother or other relatives
cultivate the land for them until they can do it for themselves; but
the right of property is in the children. When a piece of land is
sold it is done in the presence of witnesses, if it is so desired.
Oftener the sale and transfer are made by and between the parties
themselves. No documents are used. This is so in all the pueblos.
The rules and customs in the sale and delivery of rooms in a house
and of personal property, such as animals, are the same. There is no
preference, as to males or females, in the descent of property
rights and titles. There is a corn-field at each pueblo, cultivated
by all in common, and when grain is scarce the poor take from this
store after it is housed. It is in the charge of, and at the
disposal of, the cacique (called the governor). Land cannot be sold
to an alien; but an Indian coming from another pueblo to live at
this may acquire land to subsist upon, though such immigration is
rare. It is not allowed at any of the pueblos that a white person
acquire property therein. An Indian woman is not allowed to marry a
Mexican and live at the pueblo. A piece of land held and recognized
as belonging to a person is his property, whether he utilizes it or
not, and he may sell or donate it absolutely at his will to persons
within the community.

"At Jemes and Zia (other pueblos in New Mexico), when a woman dies
her property goes into the control of her husband; if a widow, it
descends to her children; if she has no children, it goes to her
brothers and sisters equally; and if none survive her, then to her
nearest relatives; if she has no relatives, then to such friends as
attend her in her last illness. It never reverts to the pueblo,
which as a corporate community owns no land."

What Mr. Miller refers to as property rights and titles, and
ownership in fee of land, is sufficiently explained by the
possessory right found among the Northern tribes. The limitations
upon its alienation to an Indian from another pueblo or to a white
man, not to lay any stress upon the absence of written conveyances
of titles made possible by Spanish and American intercourse, show
quite plainly that their ideas respecting the ownership of the
ultimate title to land, with power to alienate in fee, were entirely
below this conception of property in land. The more important ends
of individual ownership were obtained through the possessory right,
while the ultimate title remained in the tribe for the protection of
all. That the pueblo now owns no land, as Mr. Miller states, must
be understood to mean that all the lands of the original grant have
been parcelled out. The further statement of Mr. Miller, that if a
father dies his land is divided between his widow and children, and
that if a mother dies, leaving no husband, her land is divided
equally between her sons and daughters, is important, because it
shows an inheritance by the children from both father and mother, a
total departure from the principles of gentile inheritance. While
visiting the Taos pueblo in the summer of 1878 I was unable to find
among them the gentile organization, and from lack of sufficient
time could not inquire into their rules of descent and inheritance.

My friend, Mr. Ad. F. Bandelier, now recognized as our most eminent
scholar in Spanish American history, has recently investigated the
subject of the tenure of lands among the ancient Mexicans with great
thoroughness of research. The results are contained in an essay
published in the Eleventh Annual Report of the Peabody Museum of
Archaeology and Ethnology, p. 385 (Cambridge, 1878). It gives me
great pleasure to incorporate verbatim in this chapter, and with his
permission, so much of this essay as relates to the kinds or classes
of land recognized among them, the manner in which they were held,
and his general conclusions.

In the pueblo of Mexico (Tenochtitlan), he remarks, "Four quarters
had been formed by the localizing of four relationships composing
them respectively, and it is expressly stated that each one might
build in its quarter (barrio) as it liked." [Footnote: Duran (Cap V p.
42), Acosta (Lib. VII, cap. VII, p. 467), Herrera (Dec. III, Lib. II,
cap. XI, p. 61).]

The term for these relationships, in the Nahuatl tongue, and used
among all the tribes speaking it was 'calpulli.' It is also used to
designate a great hall or house and we may therefore infer that,
originally at least, all the members of one kinship dwelt under one
common roof.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 1 relocated to chapter end.]

The ground thus occupied by the 'calpulli' was NOT, as Torquemada
admits, assigned to it by a higher power; the tribal government
itself held NO DOMAIN which it might apportion among subdivisions or
to individuals, either gratuitously or on condition of certain
prestations, or barter against a consideration. [Footnote: The
division into "quarters" is everywhere represented as resulting from
common consent. But nowhere is it stated that the tribal government
or authority assigned locations to any of its fractions. This is
only attributed to the chiefs, on the supposition that they,
although elective, were still hereditary monarchs.]

The tribal territory was distributed, at the time of its occupancy,
into possessory rights held by the KINDRED GROUPS AS SUCH, by common
and tacit consent, as resulting naturally from their organization
and state of culture.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 2 relocated to chapter end.]

The patches of solid ground, on which these 'quarters' settled, were
gradually built over with dwellings, first made out of canes and
reeds, and latterly, as their means increased, of turf, 'adobe', and
light stone. These houses were of large size, since it is stated
that even at the time of the conquest 'there were seldom less than
two, four, and six dwellers in one house; thus there were infinite
people (in the pueblo) since, as there was no other way of providing
for them, many aggregated together as they might please.' Communal
living, as the idea of the 'calpulli' implies, seems, therefore, to
have prevailed among the Mexicans as late as the period of their
greatest power.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 3 relocated to chapter end.]

"The soil built over by each 'calpulli' probably remained for some
time the only solid expanse held by the Mexicans. Gradually, however,
the necessity was felt for an increase of this soil. Remaining
unmolested 'in the midst of canes and reeds,' their numbers had
augmented, and for residence as well as for food a greater area was
needed. Fishing and hunting no longer satisfied a people whose
original propensities were horticultural; they aspired to cultivate
the soil as they had once been accustomed to, and after the manner
of the kindred tribes surrounding them. For this purpose they began
throwing up little artificial garden beds, 'chinampas,' on which
they planted Indian corn and perhaps some other vegetables. Such
plots are still found as 'floating gardens,' in the vicinity of the
present city of Mexico and they are described as follows by a
traveler of this century:

"They are artificial gardens about fifty or sixty yards long, and
not more than four or five wide. They are separated by ditches of
three or four yards, and are made by taking the soil from the
intervening ditch and throwing it on the chinampa, by which means
the ground is raised generally about a yard, and thus forms a small
fertile garden, covered with the finest culinary vegetables, fruits,
and flowers...."

"Each consanguine relationship thus gradually surrounded the surface
on which it dwelt with a number of garden plots sufficient to the
wants of its members. The aggregate area thereof, including the
abodes, formed the 'calpullalli'--soil of the 'calpulli'--and was
held by it as a unit; the single tracts, however, being tilled and
used for the benefit of the single families. The mode of tenure of
land among the Mexicans at that period was therefore very simple.
The tribe claimed its territory, 'altephetlalli,' an undefined
expanse over which it might extend--the 'calpules,' however, held
and possessed within that territory such portions of it as were
productive; each 'calpulli' being sovereign within its limits, and
assigning to its individual members for their use the minor tracts
into which the soil was parcelled in consequence of their mode of
cultivation. If, therefore, the terms 'altepetlalli' and
'calpulalli' are occasionally regarded as identical, it is because
the former indicates the occupancy, the latter the distribution of
the soil. We thus recognize in the calpulli, or kindred group, the
unit of tenure of whatever soil the Mexicans deemed worthy of
definite possession. Further on we shall investigate how far
individuals, as members of this communal unit, participated in the
aggregate tenure." [Footnote: Alonzo de Zurita (p. 51).
Ixtlilxochitl ("Hist. des Chichim," cap. XXXV, p. 242). Torquemada
(Lib. XIV, cap. VII, p. 545). Bustamante ("Tezcoco en los ultimos
Tiempos de sus antiguas Reyes" p 232).]

"In the course of time, as the population further increased,
segmentation occurred within the four original 'quarters,' new
'calpulli' being formed."

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 4 relocated to chapter end.]

For governmental purposes this segmentation produced a new result by
leaving, more particularly in military affairs, the first four
clusters as great subdivisions. [Footnote: "Art of War, etc.," pp.
115 and 120.]

But these, as soon as they had disaggregated, ceased to be any
longer units of territorial possession, their original areas being
held thereafter by the 'minor quarters' (as Herrera, for instance,
calls them), who exercised, each one within its limits, the same
sovereignty which the original 'calpulli' formerly held over the

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 5 relocated to chapter end.]

A further consequence of this disaggregation was (by removing the
tribal council farther from the calpules) the necessity for an
official building, exclusively devoted to the business of the whole
tribe alone.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 6 relocated to chapter end.]

This building was the 'teepan' called, even by Torquemada, 'house of
the community'; it was, therefore, since the council of chiefs was
the highest authority in the government, the 'council house' proper.
It was erected near the center of the 'pueblo,' and fronting the
open space reserved for public celebrations. But, whereas formerly
occasional, gradually merging into regular, meetings of the chiefs
were sufficient, constant daily attendance at the 'teepan' became
required, even to such an extent that a permanent residence of the
head-chief there resulted from it and was one of the duties of the
office. Consequently the 'tlacatecuhtli, his family, and such
assistants as he needed (like runners), dwelt at the 'official house.'
But this occupancy was in no manner connected with a possessory
right by the occupant, whose family relinquished the abode as soon
as the time of office expired through death of its incumbent. The
'teepan' was occupied by the head war-chiefs only as long as they
exercised the functions of that office. [Footnote: Nearly every
author who attempts to describe minutely the "chief-house" (teepan)
mentions it as containing great halls (council-rooms). See the
description of the teepan of Tezcuco by Ixtlilxochitl ("Hist. des
Chichimbuques," cap. XXXVI, p. 247)]

"Of those tracts whose products were exclusively applied to the
governmental needs of the pueblo or tribe itself (taken as an
independent unit) there were, as we have already seen, two
particular classes:

"The first was the 'teepan-tlalli,' land of the house of the
community, whose crops were applied to the sustenance of such as
employed themselves in the construction, ornamentation, and repairs
of the public house. Of these there were sometimes several within
the tribal area. They were tilled in common by special families who
resided on them, using the crops in compensation for the work they
performed on the official buildings.

"The second class was called 'tlatoca-tlalli,' land of the speakers.
Of these there was but one tract in each tribe, which was to be
'four hundred of their measures long on each side, each measure
being equal to three Castilian rods."

[Footnote: Ixtlilxochitl ("Hist. des Chichim," cap. XXXV, p. 242).
Vedia (Lib. III, cap. VI, p. 195). "This had to be four hundred of
their measures in square ('encuadro,' each side long), each one of
these being equal to three Castilian rods".... See "Art of War"
(p. 944, note 183). "The rod" (vara) is equal to 2.78209 feet
English (Guyot).]

The crops raised on such went exclusively to the requirements of the
household at the 'teepan,' comprising the head-chief and his family
with the assistants. The tract was worked in turn by the other
members of the tribe, and it remained always public ground, reserved
for the same purposes. [Footnote: Veytia (Lib. III, cap. VI, p. 195).
It is superfluous to revert to the erroneous impression that the
chiefs might dispose of it.]

Both of these kinds were often comprised in one, and it is even not
improbable that the first one may have been but a variety of the
general tribute-lands devoted to the benefit of the conquering
confederates. Still the evidence on this point is too indefinite to
warrant such an assumption.

While the crops raised on the 'teepan-tlalli,' as well as on the
'tlatoca-tlalli,' were consumed exclusively by the official houses
and households of the tribe, the soil itself which produced these
crops was neither claimed nor possessed by the chiefs themselves or
their descendants. It was simply, as far as its products were
concerned, official soil.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 7 relocated to chapter end.]

The establishing and maintaining of these areal subdivisions was
very simple with the tribes of the mainland, since they all
possessed ample territories for their wants and for the requirements
of their organizations. Their soil formed a contiguous unit. It was
not so, however, with the Mexicans proper. With all their industry
in adding artificial sod to the patch on which they had originally
settled, the solid surface was eventually much too small for their
numbers, and they themselves put an efficient stop to further growth
thereof by converting, as we have seen elsewhere, for the purpose of
defence, their marshy surroundings into water-sheets, through the
construction of extensive causeways. [Footnote: "Art of War" (pp.
150 and 151). L. H. Morgan ("Ancient Society," Part II, cap. VII, pp.
190 and 191)].

While the remnants of the original 'teepantlalli' and of the
'tlatocatlalli' still remained visible in the gardens, represented
to us as purely ornamental, which dotted the pueblo of Mexico, the
substantial elements wherewith to fulfill a purpose for which they
were no longer adequate had, in course of time, to be drawn from the
mainland. But it was not feasible, from the nature of tribal
condition, to extend thither by colonization. The soil was held
there by other tribes, whom the Mexicans might well overpower and
render tributary, but whom they could not incorporate, since the
kinships composing these tribes could not be fused with their own.
Outposts, however, were established on the shores, at the outlets of
the dykes, at Tepeyacac on the north, at Iztapalapan, Mexicaltzinco,
and at Huitzilopocheo to the south, but these were only military
positions, and beyond them the territory proper of the Mexicans
never extended.

[Footnote: Humboldt ("Essai politique sur la Nouvelle Espagne," Vol.
II, Lib. III, cap. VIII, p. 50): Nearly all the old authors describe
the pueblo buildings as surrounded by pleasure-grounds or ornamental
gardens. It is very striking that, the pueblo having been founded in
1325, and nearly a century having been spent in adding sufficient
artificial soil to the originally small solid expanse settled, the
Mexicans could have been ready so soon to establish purely
decorative parks within an area, every inch of which was valuable to
them for subsistence alone!]

[Footnote: The Mexican tribe proper clustered extensively within the
pueblo of Tenuchtitlan. The settlements at Iztapalapan,
Huntzilopocheo, and Mexicaltzinco were but military stations--
outworks, guarding the issues of the causeways to the South.
Tepeyacac (Guadalupe Hidalgo) was a similar position--unimportant as
to population--in the north. Chapultepec was a sacred spot, not
inhabited by any number of people and only held by the Mexicans for
burial purposes, and on account of the springs furnishing fresh
water to their pueblo.]

Tribute, therefore, had to furnish the means for sustaining their
governmental requirements in the matter of food, and the tribute
lands had to be distributed and divided, so as to correspond
minutely to the details of their home organization. For this reason
we see, after the overthrow of the Tecpanecas, lands assigned
apparently to the head war-chiefs, to the military chiefs of the
quarters, 'from which to derive some revenue for their maintenance
and that of their children.' [Footnote: Tezozomoc (Cap. XV, p. 24)1]

These tracts were but 'official tracts,' and they were apart from
those reserved for the special use of the kinships. The latter may
have furnished that general tribute which, although given nominally
to the head war-chief, still was 'for all the Mexicans in common.'

The various classes of lands which we have mentioned were, as far as
their tenure is concerned, included in the 'calpulalli' or lands of
the kinships. Since the kin, or 'calpulli,' was the unit of
governmental organization, it also was the unit of landed tenure.
Clavigero says: 'The lands called altepetlalli, that is, those who
belonged to the communities of the towns and villages, were divided
into as many parts as there were quarters in a town, and each
quarter held its own for itself, and without the least connection
with the rest. Such lands could in no manner be alienated.'
[Footnote: "Storia del Messico" (Lib. VII, cap. XVI).] These
'quarters' were the 'calpulli'; hence it follows that the
consanguine groups held the altepetlalli or soil of the tribe.

"We have, therefore, in Mexico the identical mode of the tenure of
lands which Polo de Ondogardo had noted in Peru and reported to the
King of Spain, as follows.... 'Although the crops and other produce
of these lands were devoted to the tribute, the land itself belonged
to the people themselves. Hence a thing will be apparent which has
not hitherto been properly understood. When any one wants land, it
is considered sufficient if it can be shown that it belonged to the
Inca or to the sun. But in this the Indians are treated with great
injustice; for in those days they paid the tribute, and the land was

[Footnote: "Narratives of the Rites and Laws of the Yncas,
translated from the original Spanish manuscripts, and edited by
Clement R. Markham." Publication of the "Hackluyt Society," 1873.
"Report of Polo de Ondegardo," who was "Regidor" of Cuzco in 1560,
and a very important authority (see Prescott, "History of the
Conquest of Peru," note to Book I, cap. V). Confirmed by Garcia
("El Origen de los Indios," Lib. IV, cap, XVI, p. 162).] ...

"The expanse held and occupied by the calpulli, and therefore called
'calpulalli' was possessed by the kin in joint tenure. It could
neither be alienated nor sold; in fact, there is no trace of barter
or sale of land previous to the conquest."

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 8 relocated to chapter end.]

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 9 relocated to chapter end.]

If, however, any calpulli weakened, through loss of numbers from any
cause whatever, it might farm out its area to another similar group,
deriving subsistence from the rent.

[Footnote: Zurita (p. 93): "In case of need it was permitted to farm
out the lands of a calpulli to the inhabitants of another quarter."
Herrera (Dec. III, lib. IV, cap, XV, p. 134): "They could be rented
out to another lineage."]

If the kinship died out, and its lands therefore became vacant, then
they were either added to those of another whose share was not
adequate for its wants or they were distributed among all the
remaining calpulli.' [Footnote: Zurita (p. 52): "When a family dies
out, its lands revert to the calpulli, and the chief distributes
them among such members of the quarter as are most in need of it."]

The calpulli was a democratic organization. Its business lay in the
hands of elective chiefs--'old men' promoted to that dignity, as we
intend to prove in a subsequent paper, for their merits and
experience, and after severe religious ordeals. These chiefs formed
the council of the kin or quarter, but their authority was not
absolute, since on all important occasions a general meeting of the
kindred was convened. [Footnote: Zurita (pp. 60, 61, 62). Ramirez de
Fuenleal ("Letter," etc., Ternaux-Compaus, p. 249).]

The council in turn selected an executive, the 'calpullec' or
'chinancallec,' who in war officiated as 'achcacauhtin' or
'teachcauhtin' (elder brother).

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 10 relocated to chapter end.]

This office was for life or during good behavior. [Footnote: Zurita
(pp. 60 and 61). Herrera (Dec. III, Lib. IV, cap. XV, p. 125):
"I le elegian entre si y tenian por maior."]

It was one of his duties to keep a reckoning of the soil of the
calpulli, or 'calpulalli,' together with a record of its members,
and of the areas assigned to each family, and to note also whatever
changes occurred in their distribution.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 11 relocated to chapter end.]

Such changes, if unimportant, might be made by him; more important
ones, or contested cases, had to be referred to the council of the
kinship, which in turn often appealed to a gathering of the entire
quarter. [Footnote: Zurita "Rapport," etc., pp. 56 and 62. We quote
him in preference, since no other author known to us has been so

The 'calpulalli' was divided into lots or arable beds, 'tlalmilli'.

[Footnote: "Tlalmilli: tierras, a heredades de particulares, que
estan juntas en alguna vega" (Molina, Part IIa, p. 124).] These were
assigned each to one of the married males of the kinship, to be
worked by him for his use and that of his family. If one of these
lots remained unimproved for the term of two consecutive years, it
fell back to the quarter for redistribution. The same occurred if
the family enjoying its possession removed from the calpulli. But it
does not appear that the cultivation had always to be performed by
the holders of the tract themselves. The fact of improvement under
the name of a certain tenant was only required to insure this
tenant's rights.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 12 relocated to chapter end.]

Therefore the chiefs and their families, although they could not,
from the nature of their duties, till the land themselves, still
could remain entitled to their share of 'tlalmilpa' as members of
the calpulli. Such tracts were cultivated by others for their use.
They were called by the specific name of 'pillali' (lands of the
chiefs or of the children, from 'piltontli,' boy, or 'piltzintli',
child), and those who cultivated them carried the appellation of
'tlalmaitl'--hands of the soil.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 13 relocated to chapter end.]

The 'tlalmilpa,' whether held by chiefs or by ordinary members of
the kin ('macehuales'), were, therefore, the only tracts of land
possessed for use by individuals in ancient Mexico. They were so far
distinguished from the 'tecpantlalli' and 'tlatocatlalli' in their
mode of tenure as, whereas the latter two were dependent from a
certain office, the incumbent of which changed at each election, the
'tlalmilli' was assigned to a certain family, and its possession,
therefore, connected with customs of inheritance.

Being thus led to investigate the customs of Inheritance of the
ancient Mexicans, we have to premise here, that the personal effects
of a deceased can be but slightly considered. The rule was, in
general, that whatever a man held descended to his offspring.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 14 relocated to chapter end.]

Among most of the northern Indians a large cluster participated.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 15 relocated to chapter end.]

In conformity with the organization of society based upon kin, when
in the first stage of its development, the kindred group inherited,
and the common ancestor of this kin being considered a female, it
follows that if a man died, not his children, still less his wife,
but his mother's descendants, that is, his brothers, sisters, in
fact the entire consanguine relationship from which he derived on
his mother's side, were his heirs. [Footnote: "Ancient Society"
(Part II, cap. II, p. 75; Part IV, cap. I, pp. 528, 530, 531, 536,
and 537).] Such may have been the case even among the Muysca of New

[Footnote: Gomara ("Historia de las Indios," Vedia I, p. 201).
Garcia ("Origen de los Indios," Lib. IV, cap. 23, p. 247).
Piedrahita (Parte 1, Lib. I, cap. 5, p. 27). Joaquin Acosta
("Compredio historico del Descumbrimiento y Colonisazion de la
Nueva-Granada," Cap. XI, p. 201). Ternaux-Compans ("L'ancien
Cundinamarca," pp. 21 and 38).]

It was different, however, in Mexico, where we meet with traces of a
decided progress. Not only had descent been changed to the male line,
[Footnote: Motolinia (Trat. II, cap. V, p. 120). Gomara (p. 434).
Clavigero (Lib. VII, cap XIII). Zurita (pp. 12 and 43).] but
heirship was limited, to the exclusion of the kin and of the agnates
themselves, to the children of the male sex.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 16 relocated to chapter end.]

Whatever personal effects a father left, which were not offered up
in sacrifice at the ceremonies of his funeral, they were distributed
among his male offsprings, and if there were none, they went to his
brothers. Females held nothing whatever, beyond their wearing
apparel and some few ornaments for personal use.

[Footnote: Motolinia (Trat. II, cap. V, p. 120). Torquemada (Lib.
XIII, cap. XLII to XLVIII, pp. 515 to 529). Acosta (Lib. V, cap. VIII,
pp. 320, 321, and 322). Gomara (pp. 436 and 437, Vedra, I). Mendieta
(Lib. II, cap. XL, pp. 162 and 163). Clavigero (Lib. VI, cap. XXXIX).
"They burnt the clothes, arrows, and a portion of household
utensils ... "]

The 'tlalmilli' itself, at the demise of a father, went to his
oldest son, with the obligation to improve it for the benefit of the
entire family until the other children had been disposed of by

[Footnote: Gomara ("Conq. de Mejico", p. 434): "It is customary
among tributary classes that the oldest son shall inherit the
father's property, real and personal, and shall maintain and support
all the brothers and nephews, provided they do what he commands
them. The reason why they do not partition the estates is in order
not to decrease it through such a partition...." Simancas M. S. S.
("Recueil," etc., etc., p. 224): "Relative to the calpulalli ... the
sons mostly inherited."]

But the other males could apply to the chief of the calpulli for a
'tlalmilli' of their own; the females went with their husbands.
Single blessedness, among the Mexicans, appears to have occurred
only in case of religious vows, and in which case they fell back for
subsistence upon the part allotted to worship, or in case of great
infirmities, for which the calpulli provided.

[Footnote: Zurita (p. 55): "He who has no land applies to the chief
of the tribe (calpulli), who, upon the advice of the other old men,
assigns to him a tract suitable for his wants, and corresponding to
his abilities and to his strength." Herrera (Dec. III, Lib. IV, cap.
XV, p. 135).]

[Footnote: Such unmarried females were the "nuns" frequently
mentioned by the old writers. We shall have occasion to investigate
the point in our paper on "The ancient Mexican priesthood." As
attendants to worship, they participated in the tributes furnished
towards it by each calpulli, of which we have spoken.]

No mention is made of the widow participating in the products of the
'tlalmilli,' still it is presumable that she was one of those whom
the oldest son had to support. There are indications that the widow
could remarry, in which case her husband, of course, provided for her.

"The customs of Inheritance, as above reported, were the same with
chiefs as well as with the ordinary members of the tribe. Of the
personal effects very little remained, since the higher the office
was which the deceased had held, the more display was made at his
cremation, and consequently the more of his dresses, weapons, and
ornaments were burnt with the body. Of lands, the chiefs only held
each their 'tlalmilli' in the usual way, as members of their kin,
whereas the other 'official' lots went to the new incumbents of the
offices. It should always be borne in mind that none of these
offices were hereditary themselves. Still, a certain 'right of
succession' is generally admitted as having existed. Thus, with the
Tezcucans, the office of head war-chief might pass from father to son,
at Mexico from brother to brother, and from uncle to nephew."
[Footnote: Zurita (p. 12). Gomara (Vedia I, p. 434). Torquemada
(Lib. IX, cap. IV, p. 177; Lib. XI, cap. 27, p. 356, etc. etc.).]

[Footnote: This fact is too amply proven to need special references.
We reserve it for final discussion in our proposed paper on the
chiefs of the Mexicans, and the duties, powers and functions of
their office.]

This might, eventually, have tended to perpetuate the office in the
family, and with it also the possession of certain lands, attached
to that officer's functions and duties. But it is quite certain too
that this stage of development had not yet been reached by any of
the tribes of Mexico at the time of its conquest by the Spaniards.
The principal idea had not yet been developed, namely, that of the
domain, which, in eastern countries at least, gradually segregated
into individually hereditary tenures and ownerships.

"Out of the scanty remains thus left of certain features of
aboriginal life in ancient Mexico, as well as out of the conflicting
statements about that country's early history, we have now attempted
to reconstruct the conceptions of the Mexican aborigines about
tenure of lands, as well as their manner of distribution thereof.
Our inquiries seem to justify the following conclusions:

"1. The notion of abstract ownership of the soil, either by a nation
or state, or by the head of its government, or by individuals, was
unknown to the ancient Mexicans.

"2. Definite possessory right was vested in the kinships composing
the tribe; but the idea of sale, barter, or conveyance or alienation
of such by the kin had not been conceived.

"3. Individuals, whatever might be their position or office, without
any exception, held but the right to use certain defined lots for
their sustenance, which right, although hereditary in the male line,
was nevertheless limited to the conditions of residence within the
area held by the kin, and of cultivation either by or in the name of
him to whom the said lots were assigned.

"4. No possessory rights to land were attached to any office or
chieftaincy. As members of a kin, each chief had the use of a
certain lot, which he could rent or farm to others, for his benefit.

"5. For the requirements of tribal business, and of the governmental
features of the kinships (public hospitality included), certain
tracts were set apart as official lands, out of which the official
households were supplied and sustained; but these lands and their
products were totally independent from the persons or families of
the chiefs themselves.

"6. Conquest of any tribe by the Mexicans was not followed by an
annexation of that tribe's territory, nor by an apportionment of its
soil among the conquerors. Tribute was exacted, and, for the purpose
of raising that tribute (in part), special tracts were set off; the
crops of which were gathered for the storehouses of Mexico.

"7. Consequently, as our previous investigations (of the warlike
institutions and customs of the ancient Mexicans) have disproved the
generally received notion of a military despotism prevailing among
them, so the results of his review of Tenure and distribution of
lands tend to establish 'that the principle and institution of
feudality did not exist in aboriginal Mexico.'"

Among the Peruvians their land system was probably much the same as
among the ancient Mexicans. But according to Garcilapo de la Vega,
they had carried their system with respect to lands a little farther.
Their lands, he remarks, were "divided into three parts and applied
to different uses. The first was for the Sun, his priests and
ministers; the second was for the King, and for the support and
maintenance of his governors and officers.... And the third was for
the natives and sojourners of the provinces, which was divided
equally according to the needs which each family required."
[Footnote: Royal Commentaries of Peru, Lond. ed., 1688. Rycaut,
trans., p. 154.]

While these several statements may not present the exact case in all
respects in Peru, Mexico, or among the Northern Indian tribes, they
sufficiently indicate the ownership of land by communities of persons,
larger or smaller, with a system of tillage that points to large
households. Neither the Peruvians, nor the Aztecs, nor any Indian
tribe had attained to a knowledge of the ownership of land in
severalty in fee simple at the period of their discovery. This
knowledge belongs to the period of civilization. There is not the
slightest probability that any Indian, whether Iroquois, Mexican, or
Peruvian, owned a foot of land that he could call his own, with
power to sell and convey the same in fee simple to whomsoever he


This was the usage among the Indian tribes in the Lower Status of
barbarism. In the Middle Status there seems to have been more method
and regularity of life, but no change in their customs with respect
to food, so marked in character that we are forced to recognize a
new plan of domestic life among them. The Iroquois had but one
cooked meal each day. It was as much as their resources and
organization for housekeeping could furnish, and was as much as they
needed. It was prepared and served usually before the noon-day hour,
ten or eleven o'clock, and may be called a dinner. At this time the
principal cooking for the day was done. After its division at the
kettle, among the members of the household, it was served warm to
each person in earthen or wooden bowls. They had neither tables, nor
chairs, nor plates, in our sense, nor any room in the nature of a
kitchen or a dining room, but ate each by himself, sitting or
standing, and where most convenient to the person. They also
separated as to the time of eating, the men eating first and by
themselves, and the women and children afterwards and by themselves.
That which remained was reserved for any member of the household
when hungry. Towards evening the women cooked hominy, the maize
having been pounded into bits the size of a kernel of rice, which
was boiled and put aside to be used cold as a lunch in the morning
or evening, and for the entertainment of visitors. They had neither
a formal breakfast nor a supper. Each person, when hungry, ate of
whatever food the house contained. They were moderate eaters. This
is a fair picture of Indian life in general in America, when
discovered. After intercourse commenced with whites, the Iroquois
gradually began to adopt our mode of life but very slowly. One of
the difficulties was to change the old usage and accustom themselves
to eat together. It came in by degrees, first with the breaking up
of the old plan of living together in numbers in the old long-houses,
and with the substitution of single houses for each family, which
ended communism and living in the large household, and substituted
the subsistence of a single family through individual effort. After
many years came the use of the table and chairs among the more
advanced families of the Iroquois tribes. There are still upon the
Iroquois reservations in this State many log homes or cabins with
but a single room on the ground floor and a loft above, with neither
a table or chair in their scanty furniture. A portion of them still
live very much in the old style, with perhaps two regular meals
daily instead of one. That they have made this much of change in the
course of two centuries must be accounted remarkable, for they have
been compelled, so to speak, to jump one entire ethnical period,
without the experience or training of so many intervening generations,
and without the brain-growth such a change of the plan of domestic
life implies, when reached through natural individual experience.
There is a tradition still current among the Seneca-Iroquois, if the
memory of so recent an occurrence may be called traditional, that
when the proposition that man and wife should eat together, which
was so contrary to immemorial usage, was first determined in the
affirmative, it was formally agreed that man and wife should sit
down together at the same dish and eat with the same ladle, the man
eating first and then the woman, and so alternately until the meal
was finished.

The testimony of such writers as have noticed the house-life of the
Indian tribes is not uniform in respect to the number of meals a day.
Thus Catlin remarks, "As I have before observed these men (the
Mandans) generally eat but twice a day, and many times not more than
once, and these meals are light and simple.... The North American
Indians, taking them in the aggregate, even when they have an
abundance to subsist on, eat less than any civilized population of
equal numbers that I have ever traveled among." [Footnote: North
American Indians, Philadelphia ed., 1857, i, 203.]

And Heckewelder, speaking of the Delawares and other tribes, says:
"They commonly make two meals every day, which they say is enough.
If any one should feel hungry between meal-times, there is generally
something in the house ready for him."

[Footnote: Indian Nations, 193.] Adair contents himself with stating
of the Chocta and Cherokee tribes that "they have no stated meal time."

[Footnote: History of the American Indian, Lond. ed., 1775, p. 17.]

There was doubtless some variation in different localities, and even
in the same household; but as a general rule, from what is known of
their mode of life, one prepared meal each day expresses very nearly
all the people in this condition of society can do for the
sustenance of mankind.

Although the sedentary Village Indians were one ethnical period in
advance of the Northern Indians, there can be but little doubt that
their mode of life in this respect was substantially the same. Among
the Aztecs or ancient Mexicans a dinner was provided about midday,
but we have no satisfactory account of a breakfast or a supper
habitually and regularly prepared. Civilization, with its
diversified industries, its multiplied products, and its monogamian
family, affords a breakfast and supper in addition to a dinner. It
is doubtful whether they are older than civilization; and even if
they can be definitely traced backward into the older period of
barbarism, there is little probability of their being found in the
Middle period. Clavigero attempts to invest the Aztecs with a
breakfast, but he was unable to find any evidence of a supper.
"After a few hours of labor in the morning," he observes, "they took
their breakfast, which was most commonly atolli, a gruel of maize,
and their dinner after midday; but among all the historians we can
find no mention of their supper." [Footnote: History of Mexico, ii,

The "gruel of maize" here mentioned as forming usually the Aztec
breakfast suggests the "hominy of the Iroquois," which, like it, was
not unlikely kept constantly prepared in every Mexican house as a
lunch for the hungry. Two meals each day are mentioned by other
Spanish authors, but as the Aztecs, as well as the tribes in Yucatan
and Central America, were ignorant of the use of tables and chairs
in eating their food, divided their food from the kettle, placing
the dinner of each person usually in a separate bowl, and separated
at their meals, the men eating first and by themselves, and the
women and children afterwards, this similarity of usage renders it
probable they were not far removed from the Iroquois in respect to
the time and manner of taking their food. Montezuma's dinner,
witnessed by Bernal-Diaz and others, and elaborately described by a
number of authors, shows that the Aztecs had a smoking hot dinner
each day, prepared regularly, and on a scale adequate to a large
household; that the dinner of each person was placed in one bowl,
and all these bowls to the number of several hundred were brought in
and set down together upon the floor of one room, where they were
taken up one by one by the male members of the household, and the
contents eaten sitting down upon the floor or standing in the open
court, as best suited them. The breakfast that preceded it, and the
supper that follows, are not mentioned, from which we infer that
there was neither a breakfast nor a supper for these inquisitive
observers to see. Neither is the subsequent dinner of the women and
children of the household mentioned, from which it may be inferred
that as the men ate their dinner first in a particular hall by
themselves, the women and children took their dinner later in
another hall, not seen by the Spaniards.

In the accounts of Montezuma's dinner a cook-house or kitchen is
mentioned, in which the dinner for the large household of the
"Tecpan" or "official house," so fully explained above by Mr.
Bandelier, was prepared. This kitchen, and the use of another room,
where the bowls containing the dinner of each person separately were
set down on the floor in a mass by themselves--an incipient
dining-room--make their first appearance in the Middle Status of
barbarism. But, as will be noticed, they are but rude realizations
of the kitchen and dining-room of civilized man. The pueblo houses
in Yucatan and Chiapas, now in ruins, are without chimneys, from
which it may be inferred that no cooking was done within them. At
Uxmal we recognize in the Governor's House, the Tecpan or
official-house, and in the House of the Nuns, and other structures
which formed the pueblo, the joint-tenement houses in which the body
of the tribe resided. If the truth of the matter is ever ascertained,
it will probably be found that the dinner for each household group,
consisting of several families, was prepared in a common cook-house
outside of the main structure, and that it was divided at the kettle
to the individuals of each household.

The separation of the sexes at their meals has been sufficiently
referred to among the Iroquois. Robertson states the usage as general.
"They must approach their lords with reverence; they must regard
them as more exalted beings, and are not permitted to eat in their
presence." [Footnote: History of America, New York ed., 1856, 178.]

Catlin the same: "These women, however, although graceful and civil,
and ever so beautiful, or ever so hungry, are not allowed to sit in
the same group with the men while at their meals. So far as I have
yet traveled in the Indian country, I have never seen an Indian
woman eating with her husband. Men form the first group at the
banquet, and women and children and dogs all come together at the
next." [Footnote: North American Indians, i, 202.] And Adair
"for the men feast by themselves and the women eat the remains."
[Footnote: History of the American Indians, p. 140.]

Herrera remarks that "the woman of Yucatan are rather larger than
the Spanish and generally have good faces ... but they would
formerly be drunk at their festivals, though they did eat apart."
[Footnote: History of America, iv, 175.] And Sahagun, speaking
of the ceremony of baptism among the Aztecs, observes that "to
the women, who ate apart, they did not give cacao to drink."
[Footnote: Historia General, lib. iv, 36]

With these general references to the universality of the practice on
the part of the men of eating first, and leaving the women and
children to come afterwards, according to the manners of barbarism,
we leave the subject.

[Relocated Footnote 1: Torquemada (Lib. II, cap. LXVIII, p. 194)
"Estaba de ordinario, recogido en una grande Sala (el calpul)."
(Lib. III, cap. XXVII, p. 305. Lib. IV, cap. XIX, p. 396) (que asi
llaman las Salas grandes de Comunidad, o de Cabildo). We find, under
the corrupted name of "galpon," the "calpulli" in Nicaragua among
the Niquirans, which speak a dialect of the Mexican (Nahuatl)
language. See E. G. Squier ("Nicaragua," Vol. II, p. 342). "The
council-houses were called grepons, surrounded by broad corridors
called galpons, beneath which the arms were kept, protected by
a guard of young men". Mr. Squier evidently bases upon Oviedo
("Hist. general," Lib. XLII, cap. III, p. 52). "Esta casa de cabildo
llaman galpon...." It is another evidence in favor of our statements,
that the kinship formed the original unit of the tribe, and at the
same time a hint that, as in New Mexico, originally, an entire kin
inhabited a single large house. See Molina's Vocab. (p. 11).]

[Relocated Footnote 2: There is no evidence of any tribute or
prestation due by the quarters to the tribe. The custom always
remained, that the "calpulli" was sovereign within its limits. See
Alonzo de Zunta ("Rapport sur les differentes classes de chefs
de la Nouvelle-Espagne," pp. 51-65). Besides, Ixtlilxochitl says:
("Hist. des Chichim," cap. XXXV, p. 242), "Other fields were called
Calpolalli or Altepetlalli." Now calpulalli (from "calpulli,"
quarter or kinship, and "tlalli," soil), means soil of the kin,
and altepetalli ("altepetl," tribe), soil of the tribe. Clavigero
even says that the lands called "altepetlalli," belonging to the
communities "of the towns and villages, were divided into so many
parts as there were quarters in the town, each quarter having its own,
without the least connection with the other." (Lib. VII, cap. XIV.)
This indicates plainly that the kinships held the soil, whereas the
tribe occupied the territorial expanse. The domain, either as
pertaining to a "lord," or to a "state", was unknown among the
Indians in general. Even among the Peruvians, who were more advanced
than the Mexicans in that respect, there was no domain of the tribe.]

[Relocated Footnote 3: See Torquemada (Lib. II, cap. XI, and Lib. III,
cap. XXII). Duran (cap. V). The quotation is from Herrera (Dec. II,
Lib. VII, cap. XIII, p. 190), and is confirmed by Torquemada (Lib.
III, cap. XXIII, p. 291), and especially by Gomara ("Conquista de
Mejico," p. 443. Vedia, I.) "Many married people ('muchos casados')
live in one house, either on account of the brothers and relations
being together, as they do not divide their grounds ('heredades'),
or on account of the limited space of the pueblos; although the
pueblos are large, and even the houses." Peter Martyr of Angleria
("De Novo Orbe," translated by Richard Eden and Michael Lok, London,
1612, Dec. V, cap. X, p. 228), says: "But the common houses
themselves as high as a mannes Girdle, were also built of stone, by
reason of the swelling of the lake through the flood, or washing
float of the Ryvers falling into it. Upon those greate foundations,
they builded the reste of the house, with Bricke dryed, or burned in
the sunne, intermingled with Beames of Tymber, and the common houses
have but one floore or planchin." We are forcibly reminded here
of the houses of Itza on Lake Peten, which were found in 1695.
("Hist. de la Conq. de los Itzaex," Lib. VIII, cap. XII, p. 494.)
"It was all filled with houses, some with stone walls more than one
rod high, and higher up of wood, and the roofs of straw, and some
only of wood and straw. There lived in them all the Inhabitants of
the Island brutally together, one relationship occupying a single
house." See also the highly valuable Introduction to the second
Dialogue of Cervantes-Salazar ("Mexico in 1554") by my excellent
friend Sr. Icazbalceta (pp. 73 and 74).]

[Relocated Footnote 4: This successive formation of new "calpulli" is
nowhere explicitly stated, but it is implied by the passage of Duran
which we have already quoted (Cap. V, p. 42). It also results from
their military organization as described in the "Art of War" (p. 115).
With the increase of population, the original kinships necessarily
disaggregated further, as we have seen it to have occurred among the
Quiche (see "Popul-Vuh," quoted in our note 7), forming smaller
groups of consanguinei. After the successful war against the
Tecpanecas, of which we shall speak hereafter, we find at least
twenty chiefs, representing as many kins (Duran, cap. XI, p. 97),
besides three more, adopted then from those of Culhuscan (Id., pp.
98 and 99). This indicates an increase.]

[Relocated Footnote 5: Torquemada (Lib. III, cap. XXIV, p. 295):
"I confess it to be truth that this city of Mexico is divided into
four principal quarters, each one of which contains others, smaller
ones, included, and all, in common as well as in particular, have
their commanders and leaders...." Zurita ("Rapport," p. 58-64).
That the smaller subdivisions were those who held the soil, and not
the four original groups, must be inferred from the fact that the
ground was attached to the calpulli. Says Zurita (p. 51), "They
(the lands) do not belong to each inhabitant of the village, but to
the calpulli, which possesses them in common." On the other hand,
Torquemada states (Lib. XIV, cap. VII, p. 545), "That in each pueblo,
according to the number of people, there should be (were) clusters
('parcialidades') of diverse people and families.... These clusters
were distributed by calpules, which are quarters ('barrios'), and it
happened that one of the aforesaid clusters sometimes contained three,
four, and more calpules, according to the population of the place
('pueblo') or tribe." The same author further affirms: "These
quarters and streets were all assorted and leveled with so much
accuracy that those of one quarter or street could not take a palm
of land from those of another, and the same was with the streets,
their lots running (being scattered) all over the pueblo."
Consequently there were no communal lands allotted to the four great
quarters of Mexico as such, but each one of the kinships (calpules)
held its part of the original aggregate. Compare Gomara (Vedia, Vol.
I, "Conq. de Mejico," p. 434: "Among tributaries it is a custom, etc.,
etc." Also p. 440). Clavigero (Lib. VII, cap. XIV): "Each quarter
has its own tract, without the least connection with the others."]

[Relocated Footnote 6: Compare Duran (Cap XI, p. 87). Acosta (Lib.
VII, cap, XXXI, p. 470). It appears as if the "teepan" had not been
constructed previous to the middle of the 14th century, the meetings
of the tribe being previously called together by priests, and
probably in the open space around the main house of worship. The
fact of the priests calling the public meetings is proved by Duran
(Cap. IV, p. 42). Acosta (Lib. VII, cap. VII, p. 468). Veytia
(Lib. II, cap. XVIII, pp. 156,159. Cap. XXI, p. 186). Acosta first
mentions "unos palacios, aunque harto pobres." (Lib. VII, cap. 8,
p. 470), on the occasion of the election of the first regular
"tlacatecuhtli:" Acamapichtli--Torquemada says (Lib. XII, cap. XXII,
p. 290) that they lived in miserable huts of reeds and straw,
erected around the open space where the altar or place of worship
of Huitzilopochtli was built. The public building was certainly
their latest kind of construction.]

[Relocated Footnote 7: "Patronomial Estates" are mentioned
frequently, but the point is, where are they to be found?
Neither the "teepan-tlalli" nor the "tlatoca-tlalli," still
less the "calpulalli," show any trace of individual ownership.
"Eredad" (heirloom) is called indiscriminately "milli" and
"cuemitl" (Molina, Parte Ia, p. 57). The latter is also rendered
as "tierra labrada, o camellon" (Molina, Parte IIa, p. 26). It
thus reminds us of the "chinamitl" or garden-bed (as the name
"camellon" also implies), and reduces it to the proportion of
an ordinary cultivated lot among the others contained within the
area of the calpulli. It is also called "tlalli," but that is
the general name for soil or ground. "Tierras o eredades de
particulares, juntas an alguna vega," is called "tlalmilli".
This decomposes into "tlalli" soil and "milli." But "vega"
signifies a fertile tract or field, and thus we have again
the conception of communal lands, divided into lots improved by
particular families, as the idea of communal tenure necessarily

[Relocated Footnote 8: Zurita ("Rapport," etc., etc., p. 50):
"The chiefs of the second class are yet called calpullec in the
singular and chinancallec in the plural." (This is evidently
incorrect, since the words 'calpulli' and 'chinancalli' can easily
be distinguished from each other.) "'Chinancalli', however after
Molina means 'cercado de seto' (Parte IIa, p. 21), or an inclosed
area, and if we connect it with the old original 'chinamitl' we are
forcibly carried back to the early times, when the Mexicans but
dwelt on a few flakes of more or less solid ground. This is an
additional evidence in favor of the views we have taken of the
growth of landed tenure among the Mexican tribe. We must never
forget that the term is 'Nahuatl,' and as such recognized by all the
other tribes, outside of the Mexicans proper. The interpretation as
'family' in the Quiche tongue of Guatemala, which we have already
mentioned, turns up here as of further importance; that is: chiefs
of an old race or family, from the word calpulli or chinancalli,
which is the same, and signifies a quarter (barrio), inhabited by a
family known, or of old origin, which possesses since long time a
territory whose limits are known, and whose members are of the same

"The calpullis, families or quarters, are very common in each
province. Among the lands which were given to the chefs of the
second class there were also calpullis. These lands are the property
of the people in general ('de la masse du peuple') from the time the
Indians reached this land. Each family or tribe received a portion
of the soil for perpetual enjoyment. They also had the name of
calpulli, and until now this property has been respected. They do
not belong to each inhabitant of the village in particular, but to
the calpulli, which possesses them in common." Don Ramirez de
Fuenleal, letter dated Mexico, 3 Nov., 1532 ("Recueil de pieces,"
etc, Ternaux-Compans, p. 253): "There are very few people in the
villages which have lands of their own ... the lands are held in
common and cultivated in common." Herrera (Dec. III, Lib. IV, cap. XV,
p. 135) confirms, in a condensed form, the statement of Zurita,
"and they are not private lands of each one, but held in common."
Torquemada (Lib. XIV, cap. VII, p. 545.) Veytia (Lib. III, cap. VI,
p. 196). "Finally, there were other tracts of lands in each tribe,
called calpulalli, which is land of the calpules (barrios), which
also were worked in common." Oviedo (Lib. XXXII, cap. LI, pp. 536 and
537). Clavigero (Lib. VII, cap. XIV). Bustamante ("Tezcoco," etc.,
Parte IIIa, cap. V. p. 232).]

[Relocated Footnote 9: Zurita (p. 52): "He who obtained them from the
sovereign has not the right to dispose of them." Herrera (Dec. III,
Lib. IV, cap. XV, p. 135): "He who possessed them could not alienate
them, although he enjoyed their use for his lifetime." Torquemada
(Lib. XIV, cap. VII, p. 545): "Disputes about lands are frequently
mentioned, but they refer to the enjoyment and possession, and not
the transfer of the land." Baron Humboldt ("Unes des Cordilleres et
monuments indigenes des peuples de l'Amerique", Vol. I, Tab. V)
reproduces a Mexican painting representing a litigation about land.
But this painting was made subsequent to the Conquest, as the fact
that the parties contending are Indians and Spaniards sufficiently
asserts. Occasional mention is made that certain lands "could be sold."
All such tracts, however, like the "pallali", have been shown by us
to be held in communal tenure of the soil, there enjoyment alone
being given to individuals and their families.]

[Relocated Footnote 10: Zurita (p. 60): "The calpulli have a chief
taken necessarily from among the tribe; he must be one of the
principal inhabitants, an able man who can assist and defend the
people. The election takes place among them.... The office of this
chief is not hereditary; when any one dies, they elect in his place
the most respected old man.... If the deceased has left a son who is
able the choice falls upon him, and a relative of the former
incumbent is always preferred." (Id., pp. 50 and 222). Simancas
M. S. S. ("De l'ordre de succession," etc., "Recucil," p. 225): As
to the mode of regulating the jurisdiction and election of the
alcaldes and regidors of the villages, "they nominated men of note
who had the title of achcatanlitin.... There were no other elections
of officers...." ('Art of War,' etc. pp. 119 and 120).]

[Relocated Footnote 11: Zurita (pp. 61 and 62): "This chief has
charge of the lands of the calpulli. It is his duty to defend their
possession. He keeps paintings showing the tracts, the names of
their holders, the situation, the limits, the number of men tilling
them, the wealth of private individuals, the designations of each as
are vacant, of others that belong to the Spaniards, the date of
donation, to whom and by whom they were given. These paintings he
constantly renews, according to the changes occurring, and in this
they are very skillful." It is singular that Motolinia, in his
"Epistola proemial" ("Col. de Doc."; Icazbalceta, Vol. I, p. 5),
among the five "books of paintings" which he says the Mexicans had,
makes no mention of the above. Neither does he notice it in his
letter dated Cholala, 27 Aug., 1554 ("Recueil de pieces," etc.,

[Relocated Footnote 12: Each family, represented by its male head,
obtained a certain tract or lot for cultivation and use, Zurita
(p. 55). "The party (member of the calpulli, because no member of
another one had the right to settle within the area of it--see Id.,
p. 53), who has no lands applies to the chief of the calpulli, who,
upon the advice of the other old men, assigns to him such as
corresponds to his ability and wants. These lands go to his
heirs...." (id., p. 56). "The proprietor who did not cultivate
during two years, either through his own fault or through
negligence, without just cause ... he was called upon to improve
them, and if he failed to do so they were given to another the
following year." Bustamante (Tezcoco, etc., Parte IIIa, p. 190,
cap I): "The fact that any holder of a 'tlalmilli' might rent out
his share, if he himself was occupied in a line precluding him from
actual work on it, results from the lands of the 'calpulli' being
represented alternately treated as communal and again as private
lands. Besides, it is said of the traders who, from the nature of
their occupation, were mostly absent, that they were also members
and participants of a 'calpulli'" (Zurita, p. 223. Sahagun, Lib.
VIII, cap. III, p. 349). Now, as every Mexican belonged to a kinship,
which held lands after the plan exposed above, it follows that such
as were not able to work themselves, on account of their performing
other duties subservient to the interests of the community still
preserved their tracts by having others to work them for their
benefit. It was not the right of tenancy which authorizes the
improvement, but the fact of improvement for a certain purpose and
benefit, which secured the possession or tenancy.]

[Relocated Footnote 13: From "tlalli" soil, and "maitl" hand. Hands
of the soil. Molma (Parte IIa, p. 124) has: "tlalmaitl"--"labrador, y
ganyan." This name is given in distinction of the "macehuales" or
people working the soil in general. The tlalmaites are identical
with the "mayeques." (See Zurita, p. 224): "tlalmaites or mayeques,
which signifies tillers of the soil of others...." He distinguishes
them plainly from the 'teccallec,' which are the 'tecpanpouhque' or
"tecpantlaca" formerly mentioned as attending to a class official
lands (p. 221, Zurita). Herrera (Dec. III, Lib. IV, cap. XVII, p. 138):
"These mayeques could not go from one tract to another, neither
leave those which they cultivated, and raised. They paid tribute to
nobody else but the master of the land." This tends to show that
there existed not an established obligation, a serfdom, but a
voluntary contract, that the "tlalmaites" were not serfs, but simply

[Relocated Footnote 14: Motolinia (Tratado II, cap. V, p. 120):
"But they left their houses and lands to their children" ... Gomara
(p. 434): "Es costumbre de pecheros que el hijo mayor herede al
padre en toda la hacienda raiz y mueble, y que tenga y mantenga
todos los hermanos y sobrinos, con tal que haganellos lo que el les
mandare." Clavigero (Lib. VII, cap. XIII): "In Mexico, and nearly
the entire realm, the royal family excepted as already told, the
sons succeeded to the father's rights; and if there were no sons,
then the brothers, and the brothers' sons inherited." Bustamante
("Tezcoco," etc., p. 219): In all these cases, Bustamante only
speaks of chiefs; but the quotations from Motolinia and Gomara
directly apply to the people in general.]

[Relocated Footnote 15: Mr. L. H. Morgan has investigated the custom
of inheritance, not only among the northern Indians, but also among
the pueblo Indians of New Mexico. He establishes the fact, that the
"kinship" or "gens," which we may justly consider as the unit of
organization in American aboriginal society, participated in the
property of the deceased. He proves it among the Iroquois ("Ancient
Society," Part II, cap. II, pp. 75 and 76). Wyandottes, Id., cap. VII,
p. 153. Missouri-tribes, p. 155. Winnebagoes, p 157. Mandans, p 158.
Minnitarees, p. 159. Creeks, p. 161. Choctas, p. 162. Chickasas, p.
163. Ojibwas, p. 167; also Potowattomies and Crees, Miamis, p. 168.
Shawnees, p. 169. Sauks, Foxes and Menominies, p. 170. Delawares, p.
172. Munsees and Mohegans, p. 173. Finally, the pueblo Indians of
New Mexico are shown to have, if not the identical at least a
similar mode of inheritance. It would be easy to secure further
evidence, from South America also.]

[Relocated Footnote 16: Letter of Motolinia and Diego d'Olarte, to
Don Luis de Velasco, Cholula, 27 Aug., 1554 ("Recueil," etc., etc., p.
407): "The daughters did not inherit; it was the principal, wife's
son" ... "Besides, nearly every author designates but a son, or sons,
as the heirs. There is no mention made of daughters at all. In
Tlaxcallan, it is also expressly mentioned that the daughters did
not inherit" (Torquemada, Lib. XI, cap. XXII, p. 348). In general,
the position of woman in ancient Mexico was a very inferior one, and
but little above that which it occupies among Indians in general.
(Compare the description of Gomara, p. 440, Vedia I, with those of
Sahagun. Lib. X, cap. I, p. 1; cap. XIII, pp. 30, 31, 32, and 33.
The fact is generally conceded). H. H. Bancroft "Native Races," Vol.
II, cap. VI, p. 224, etc.]



The growth of the idea of house architecture in general is a subject
more comprehensive than the scope of this volume. But there is one
phase of this growth, illustrating as it does the condition of
society and of the family in savagery and in barbarism, to which
attention will be invited. It is found in the domestic architecture
of the American aborigines, considered as a whole, and as parts of
one system. As a system it stands related to the institutions, usages,
and customs presented in the previous chapters. There is not only
abundant evidence in the collective architecture of the Indian
tribes of the gradual development of this great faculty or aptitude
of the human mind among them, through three ethnical periods, but
the structures themselves, or a knowledge of them, remain for
comparison with each other. A comparison will show that they belong
to a common indigenous system of architecture. There is a common
principle running through all this architecture, from the hut of the
savage to the commodious joint-tenement house of the Village Indians
of Mexico and Central America, which will contribute to its

The indigenous architecture of the Village Indians has given to them,
more than aught else, their position in the estimation of mankind.
The facts of their social condition in other respects, which,
unfortunately, are obscure, have been much less instrumental in
fixing their status than existing architectural remains. The Indian
edifices in Mexico and Central America of the period of the Conquest
may well excite surprise and even admiration; from their palatial
extent, from the material used in their construction, and from the
character of their ornamentation, they are highly creditable to
their skill in architecture. But a false interpretation has, from
the first, been put upon this architecture, as I think can be shown,
and inferences with respect to the social condition and the degree
of advancement of these tribes have been constantly drawn from it
both fallacious and deceptive, when the plain truth would have been
more creditable to the aborigines. It will be my object to give an
interpretation of this architecture in harmony with the usages and
customs of the Indian tribes. The houses of the different tribes, in
ground-plan and mechanism, will be considered and compared, in order
to show wherein they represent one system.

A common principle, as before stated, runs through all this
architecture, from the "long-house" of the Iroquois to the "pueblo
houses" of New Mexico, and to the so-called "palace" at Palenqne,
and the "House of the Nuns" at Uxmal. It is the principle of
adaptation to communism in living, restricted in the first instance
to household groups, and extended finally to all the inhabitants of
a village or encampment by the law of hospitality. Hunger and
destitution were not known at one end of an Indian village while
abundance prevailed at the other. Joint-tenement houses, each
occupied by one large household, as among the Iroquois, or by
several household groups, as in Yucatan, were the natural and
inevitable result of their usages and customs. Communism in living
and the law of hospitality, it seems probable, accompanied all the
phases of Indian life in savagery and in barbarism. These and other
facts of their social condition embodied themselves in their
architecture, and will contribute to its elucidation.

The house architecture of the Northern tribes is of little importance,
in itself considered; but, as an outcome of their social condition
and for comparison with that of the Southern Village Indians, it is
highly important. An attempt will be made to show, firstly, that the
known communism in living of the former tribes entered into and
determined the character of their houses, which are communal; and,
secondly, that wherever the structures of the latter class are
obviously communal, the practice of communism in living at the
period of discovery may be inferred from the structures themselves,
although many of them are now in ruins, and the people who
constructed them have disappeared. Some evidence, however, of the
communism of the Village Indians has been presented.


Mr. Stephen Powers, in his recent and instructive work on the
"California Tribes," enumerates seven varieties of the lodge
constructed by these tribes, adapted to the different climates of
the State. One form was adapted to the raw and foggy climate of the
California coast, constructed of redwood poles over an excavated pit,
another to the snow-belt of the Coast Range and of the Sierras;
another to the high ranges of the Sierras; another to the warm coast
valleys; another, limited to a small area, constructed of interlaced
willow poles, the interstices being open; another to the woodless
plains of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, dome-shaped and
covered with earth; and another to the hot and nearly rainless
region of the Kern and Tulare valleys, made of tule. Four of these
varieties are given below, the illustrations being taken from his
work. [Footnote: Powell's Geographical Survey, &c., of the Rocky
Mountain Region, Contributions to American Ethnology, vol. iii,
Powers' Tribes of California, p. 436.]

"In making a wigwam, they excavated about two feet, banked up the
earth enough to keep out the water, and threw the remainder on the
roof dome-shaped. With the Lolsel the bride often remains in the
father's house, and her husband comes to live with her, whereupon
half the purchase money is returned. Thus there will be two or three
families in one lodge. They are very clannish, especially the
mountain tribes, and family influence is all potent." [Footnote: ib.,
p. 221.]

Elsewhere he remarks upon this form of house as follows: "On the
great woodless plains of the Sacramento and San Joaquin, the savages
naturally had recourse to earth for a material. The round,
domed-shaped, earth-covered lodge is considered the characteristic
one of California; and probably two-thirds of its immense aboriginal
population lived in dwellings of this description. The doorway is
sometimes directly on top, sometimes on the ground, at one side. I
have never been able to ascertain whether the amount of rain-fall of
any given locality had any influence in determining the place of the
door." [Footnote: ib., p. 437.]

This mode of entrance reappears in the more artistic house of the
Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, where the rooms are entered by means
of a trap-door in the roof, the descent being made by a ladder. The
"immense aboriginal population" of California, claimed by Mr. Powers,
is too strong a statement.

"This wigwam is in the shape of the capital letter L, made up of
slats leaning up to a ridge-pole and heavily thatched. All along the
middle of it the different families or generations have their fires,
while they sleep next the walls, lying on the ground, underneath
rabbit-skins and other less elegant robes, and amid a filthy cluster
of baskets, dogs, and all the wretched trumpery dear to the
aboriginal heart. There are three narrow holes for dens, one at
either end and one at the elbow." This is Mr. Powers' fifth variety
of the lodge. [Footnote: Powers' Tribes of Cal., p. 284.]

"In the very highest region of Sierra, where the snow falls to such
an enormous depth that the fire would be blotted out and the whole
open side snowed up, the dwelling retains substantially the same
form and materials, but the fire is taken into the middle of it, and
one side of it (generally the east one) slopes down more nearly
horizontal than the other, and terminates in a curved way about
three feet high and twice as long." Half a dozen such houses make an
Indian village, with the addition of a "dome-shaped assembly or
dance house" in the middle space. "One or more acorn-granaries of
wicker-work stand around each lodge, much like hogsheads in shape
and size, either on the ground or mounted on posts as high as one's
head, full of acorns and capped with thatch." [Footnote: Powers'
Tribes of Cal., p. 284.]

In Southern California, where the climate is both dry and hot, the
natives constructed a wigwam entirely different from those found in
other parts of the State. "In the Yokut nation," Mr. Powers remarks,
"there appears to be more political solidarity, more capacity in the
petty tribes of being grouped into large and coherent masses than is
common in the State. This is particularly true of those living on
the plains, who display in their encampments a military precision
and regularity which are remarkable. Every village consists of a
single row of wigwams, conical or wedge-shaped, generally made of
tule, and just enough hollowed out within so that the inmates may
sleep with the head higher than the feet, all in perfect alignment,
and with a continuous awning of brushwood stretching along in front.
In one end-wigwam lives the village captain; on the other the shaman
of si-se'-ro. In the mountains there is some approach to this martial
array, but it is universal on the plains." [Footnote: Powers' Tribes
of Cal., p. 370.]

As a rule these houses were occupied by more families than one, as
is shown by the same author. In the northern part of the State
"the Tatu wigwams do not differ essentially from those of the vicinal
tribes. They are constructed of stout willow wicker-work, dome-shaped,
and thatched with grass. Sometimes they are very large and oblong,
with sleeping-room for thirty or forty persons." [Footnote: ib., p.

The Yo-kai'-a inhabit a section of the north-west part of the State.
"Their style of lodge is the same which prevails generally along
Russian River, a huge frame-work of willow poles covered with thatch,
and resembling a large flattish haystack. Though still preserving
the same style and materials, since they have adopted from the
Americans the use of boards they have learned to construct all
around the wall of the wigwam a series of little state rooms, if I
may so call them, which are snugly boarded up and furnished with
bunks inside. This enables every family in these immense patriarchal
lodges to disrobe and retire with some regard to decency, which
could not be done in the one common room of the old style wigwam."
[Footnote: ib., p. 163.]

Again: "The Se-nel, together with three other petty tribes, mere
villages, occupy that broad expanse of Russian River Valley on one
side of which now stands the American village of Senel. Among them
we find unmistakably developed that patriarchal system which appears
to prevail all along Russian River. They construct immense
dome-shaped or oblong lodges of willow poles an inch or two in
diameter, woven in square lattice-work, securely lashed and thatched.
In each one of these live several families, sometimes twenty or
thirty persons, including all who are blood relations. Each wigwam,
therefore, is a pueblo, a law unto itself; and yet these lodges are
grouped in villages, some of which formerly contained hundreds of
inhabitants." [Footnote: ib., p. 168.]

I cannot find that Mr. Powers mentions the practice of communism in
these households, but the fact seems probable. Their usages in the
matter of hospitality are much the same as in the other tribes.
Their principal food was salmon, acorn-flour bread, game, kamas, and
berries. They were, without pottery, cooked in ground ovens, and
also in water-tight baskets by means of heated stones.

A brief reference may be made to the skin lodge of the Kutchin or
Louchoux of the Yukon and Peel Rivers.

[Illustration: Fig. 5.--Kutchin Lodge.]

This simple structure, the ground plan and elevation of which were
taken from the Smithsonian Report, is thus described by Mr.
Strachan Jones: [Footnote: Report for 1866, p. 321.] "Deer-skins are
dressed with the hair on, and sewed together, forming two large rolls,
which are stretched over a frame of bent poles. The lodge is nearly
elliptical, about twelve or thirteen feet in diameter and six feet
high, very similar to a tea-cup turned over. The door is about four
feet high, and is simply a deer-skin fastened above and hanging down.
The hole to allow the smoke to escape is about four feet in diameter.
Snow is heaped up outside the edges of the lodge and pine brush
spread on the ground inside, the snow having been previously
shoveled off with snow-shoes. The fire is made in the middle of the
lodge, and one or more families, as the case may be, live on each
side of the fire, every one having his or her particular place."
[Footnote: ib., p. 322.] He further remarks that "they have no
pottery," and that they boil water "by means of stones heated red
hot and thrown into the kettle." [Footnote: ib., p. 321.]

The principal fact to be noticed is that the lodge is comparted into
stalls open on the central space, in the midst of which is the
fire-pit, evidently for the accommodation of more families than one.
This arrangement of the interior will reappear in numerous other
cases. The Kutchin must be classed as savages, although near the
close of that condition.

The tribes of the valley of the Columbia lived more or less in
villages, but, like the tribes of California, were without
horticulture and without pottery. But they found an abundant
subsistence in the shell-fish of the coast, and in the myriads of
fish in the Columbia and its tributaries. They also subsisted upon
kamash and other bread roots of the prairies, which they cooked in
ground ovens, and upon berries and game. They were expert boatmen
and fishermen, manufactured water-tight baskets, implements of wood,
stone, and bone, and used the bow and arrow. As another quite
remarkable fact, they used plank in their houses, made by splitting
logs with stone and elk-horn chisels. Like the Kutchin, they were in
the Upper Status of savagery.

When Lewis and Clarke visited the Columbia River district (1805-1806)
they found the Indian tribes living in houses of the plainest
communal type, and some of them approaching in ground dimensions and
in the number of their occupants the pueblo houses in New Mexico.
They speak of a house of the Chopunish (Nez Perces) as follows:
"This village of Tumachemootool is in fact only a single house one
hundred and fifty feet long, built after the Chopunish fashion, with
sticks, straw and dried grass. It contains twenty-four fires, about
double that number of families, and might perhaps muster a hundred
fighting men." [Footnote: Travels, etc., l. c., p. 548.]

This would give five hundred people in a single house. The number of
fires probably indicates the number of groups practicing communism
in living among themselves, though for aught we know it may have
been general in the entire household.

[Illustration: Fig. 6--Ground plan of Ncerchokioo.]

Another great house, Ncerchokioo, is thus described: "This large
building is two hundred and twenty-six feet in front, entirely above
ground, and may be considered a single house, because the whole is
under one roof, otherwise it would seem more like a range of
buildings, as it is divided into seven distinct apartments, each
thirty feet square, by means of broad boards set up on end from the
floor to the roof. The apartments are separated from each other by a
passage or alley four feet wide, extending through the whole depth
of the house, and the only entrance is from the alley through a
small hole about twenty inches wide and not more than three feet high.
The roof is formed of rafters and round poles laid on horizontally.
The whole is covered with a double roof of bark of white cedar."
[Footnote: Lewis and Clarke's Travels, p. 503.]

The apartments, as in the previous case of the fires, may be
supposed to indicate the number of groups into which the great
household was subdivided for the practice of communism.

Elsewhere, speaking of the houses of the Clahclellahs, they remark:
"These houses are uncommonly large; one of them measured one hundred
and sixty by forty feet, and the frames are constructed in the usual
manner.... Most of the houses are built of boards and covered with
bark, though some of the more inferior kind are constructed wholly
of cedar bark, kept smooth and flat by small splinters fixed
crosswise through the bark, at the distance of twelve or fourteen
inches apart." [Footnote: ib., p. 515.]

The houses of the coast tribes (Clatsops and Chinooks) are also
described. "The houses in this neighborhood are all large wooden
buildings, ranging in length from twenty to sixty feet, and from
fourteen to twenty in width. They are constructed in the following
manner: two posts of split timber or more, agreeable to the number
of partitions, are sunk in the ground, above which they rise to the
height of fourteen or eighteen feet. They are hollowed at the top,
so as to receive the end of a round beam or pole (ridge-pole)
stretching from one to the other, and forming the upper point of the
roof for the whole extent of the building. On each side of this
range is placed another, which forms the eaves of the house, and is
about five feet high; and as the building is often sunk to the depth
of four or five feet, the eaves come very near the surface of the
earth. Smaller pieces of timber are now extended by pairs, in the
form of rafters, from the lower to the upper beams, where they are
attached at both ends with cords of cedar bark. On these rafters two
or three ranges of small poles are placed horizontally, and secured
in the same way with strings of cedar bark. The sides are now made,
with a range of white boards, sunk a small distance into the ground,
with upper ends projecting above the poles at the eaves.... The
gable end and partitions are formed in the same way.... The roof is
than covered with a double range of thin boards, except an aperture
of two or three feet in the center, for the smoke to pass through.
The entrance is by a small hole, cut out of the boards, and just
large enough to admit the body. The very largest houses only are
divided by partitions, for though three or four families reside in
the same room, there is quite space enough for all of them. In the
center of each room is a space six or eight feet square, sunk to the
depth of twelve inches below the rest of the floor, and inclosed by
four pieces of square timber. Here they make the fire, for which
purpose pine bark is generally preferred. Around the fireplace mats
are placed, and serve as seats during the day, and very frequently
as beds at night. There is, however, a more permanent bed made by
fixing, in two or sometimes three sides of the room, posts reaching
from the roof to the ground, and at the distance of four feet from
the wall. From these posts to the wall itself, one or two ranges of
boards are placed so as to form shelves, in which they either sleep
or there stow away their various articles of merchandise."
[Footnote: Lewis and Clarke's Travels, p. 431.]

These explorers found the houses of the Indian tribes throughout the
Columbia Valley occupied by several families, the smallest of them
containing from twenty to forty persons, and the largest five hundred.
The presence of large households is fully shown as the rule in their
house-life. The practice of communism by the household, as stated by
these authors, has already (supra, p. 71) been presented. This
tendency to aggregation in groups, for subsistence and for mutual
protection, reveals the weakness of the single family in the
presence of the hardships of life. Communism in living was very
plainly a necessity of their condition.

In a recent description (1869) of the modern houses of the Makah
Indians of Cape Flattery, Washington Territory, by Mr. James G. Swan,
the old usage which led to joint-tenement houses still asserts itself.
Speaking of the manner of building these houses in detail, he
remarks that "they are designed to accommodate several families, and
are of various dimensions; some of them being sixty feet long by
thirty wide, and from ten to fifteen feet high." The houses were
made of split boards on a frame of timber. [Footnote: Smithsonian
Contributions to Knowledge, No. 220, p. 5.]


[Illustration: Fig. 7--Frame of Ojibwa Wig-e-wam.]

Among the Indian tribes in the Lower Status of barbarism some
diversity existed in the plans of the lodge and house. Fig. 7, which
is taken from Schoolcraft's work on the Indian tribes, shows the
frame of an Ojibwa cabin or lodge of the best class, as it may still
be seen on the south shore of Lake Superior. Its mechanism is
sufficiently shown by the frame of elastic poles exhibited by the
figure. It is covered with bark, usually canoe birch, taken off in
large pieces and attached with splints. Its size on the ground
varied from ten to sixteen feet, and its height from six to ten.
Twigs of spruce or hemlock were strewn around the border of the
lodge on the ground floor, upon which blankets and skins were spread
for beds. The fire-pit was in the center of the floor, over which,
in the center of the roof, was an opening for the exit of the smoke.
Such a lodge would accommodate, in the aboriginal plan of living,
two and sometimes three married pairs with their children. Several
such lodges were usually found in a cluster, and the several
households consisted of related families, the principal portion
being of the same gens or clan. I am not able to state whether or
not the households thus united by the bond of kin practiced
communism in living in ancient times, but it seems probable. Carver,
who visited an Ojibwa village in Wisconsin in 1767, makes it appear
that each house was occupied by several families. "This town," he
remarks, "contains about forty houses, and can send out upwards of a
hundred warriors, many of whom are fine young men." This would give,
by the usual rule of computation, five hundred persons, and an
average of twelve persons to a house. [Footnote: Travels, etc., p. 65.]

[Illustration: Fig. 8--Dakota wii-ka-yo, or Skin Tent.]

When first discovered the Dakotas lived in houses constructed with a
frame of poles and covered with bark, each of which was large enough
for several families. They dwelt principally in villages in their
original area on the head-waters of the Mississippi, the present
State of Minnesota. Forced upon the plains by an advancing white
population, but after they had become possessed of horses, they
invented a skin tent eminently adapted to their present nomadic
condition. It is superior to any other in use among the American
aborigines from its roominess, its portable character, and the
facility with which it can be erected and struck. The frame consists
of thirteen poles from fifteen to eighteen feet in length, which,
after being tied together at the small ends, are raised upright with
a twist so as to cross the poles above the fastening. They are then
drawn apart at the large ends and adjusted upon the ground in the
rim of a circle usually ten feet in diameter. A number of untanned
and tanned buffalo skins, stitched together in a form adjustable to
the frame, are drawn around it and lashed together, as shown in the
figure. The lower edges are secured to the ground with tent-pins. At
the top there is an extra skin adjusted as a collar, so as to be
open on the windward side to facilitate the exit of the smoke. A low
opening is left for a doorway, which is covered with an extra skin
used as a drop. The fire-pit and arrangements for beds are the same
as in the Ojibwa lodge, grass being used in the place of spruce or
hemlock twigs. When the tent is struck, the poles are attached to a
horse, half on each side, like thills, secured to the horse's neck
at one end, and the other dragging on the ground. The skin-covering
and other camp-equipage are packed upon other horses and even upon
their dogs, and are thus transported from place to place on the
plains. This tent is so well adapted to their mode of life that it
has spread far and wide among the Indian tribes of the prairie region.
I have seen it in use among seven or eight Dakota sub-tribes, among
the Iowas, Otoes, and Pawnees, and among the Black-feet, Crows,
Assiniboines, and Crees. In 1878 I saw it in use among the Utes of
Colorado. A collection of fifty of these tents, which would
accommodate five hundred persons, make a picturesque appearance.
Under the name of the "Sibley tent" it is now in use, with some
modifications of plan, in the United States Army, for service on the

[Illustration: Fig. 9--Village of Pomeiock.]

Sir Richard Grenville's expedition in 1585 visited the south part of
the original colony of Virginia, now included in North Carolina.
They landed at Roanoke Island, and also ascended a section of
Albemarle Sound as far as the villages of Pomeiock and Secotan. An
artist, John Wyth, before mentioned, was a member of this expedition,
and we are indebted to him for a number of valuable sketches--the
two villages named among the number, of which copies are given,
together with representations of the people and of their industrial
arts. The description of Pomeiock is as follows: "The towns in
Virginia are very like those of Florida, not, however, so well and
firmly built, and are enclosed by a circular palisade with a narrow
entrance. In the town of Pomeiock, the buildings are mostly those of
the chiefs and men of rank. On one side is the Temple (council-house)
(A) of a circular shape, apart from the rest, and covered with mats
on every side, without windows, and receiving no light except
through the entrance. The residence of their chief (B) is
constructed of poles fixed in the ground, bound together and covered
with mats, which are thrown off at pleasure, to admit as much light
and air as they may require. Some are covered with the boughs of
trees. The natives, as represented in the plate, are indulging in
their sports. When the spring or pond is at a distance from the town,
they dig a ditch from it that supplies them with water." [Footnote:
Wyth's Sketches of Virginia, first published by De Bry, 1690,
Langly's ed., 1841, Plate 21.]

The village consisted of seventeen joint-tenement houses and a
council-house, arranged around a central open space, and surrounded
with a palisade. Here the Algonkin lodge, unlike that of the Ojibwas,
is a long, round-roofed house, apparently from fifty to eighty feet
in length, covered with movable matting in the place of bark, and
large enough to accommodate several families. The suggestion of this
author, that "the buildings were mostly those of chiefs and men of
rank," embodies the precise error which has repeated itself from
first to last with respect to the houses of American aborigines.
Because the houses at Pomeiock were large, they were the residences
of chiefs; and because the House of the Nuns at Uxmal was of
palatial extent, it was the exclusive residence of an Indian
potentate--conclusions opposed to the whole theory of Indian life
and institutions. Indian chiefs, the continent over, were housed
with the people, and no better, as a rule, than the poorest of them.

"Some of their towns," says the same author, "are not enclosed with
a palisade and are much more pleasant; Secotan, for example, here
drawn from nature. The houses are more scattered and a greater
degree of comfort and cultivation is observable, with gardens in
which tobacco (E) is cultivated, woods filled with deer, and fields
of corn. In the fields they erect a stage (F), in which a sentry is
stationed to guard against the depredations of birds and thieves.
Their corn they plant in rows (H), for it grows so large, with thick
stalk and broad leaves, that one plant would stint the other and it
would never arrive at maturity. They have also a curious place
(C) where they convene with their neighbors at their feasts, as more
fully shown on Plate 20, and from which they go to the feast (D). On
the opposite side is their place of prayer (B), and near to it the
sepulchre of their chiefs (A).... They have gardens for melons
(I), and a place (K) where they build their sacred fires. At a
little distance from the town is the pond (L) from which they obtain
their water." [Footnote: Sketches, etc., of Virginia, description of
Plate 22.]

The houses of the Powhatan Indians of Virginia proper, as described
by Captain John Smith, were precisely like those of Pomeiock and
Secotan. A part of the interior of the house in which Smith was
received by Powhatan as a prisoner is engraved upon his map of
Virginia, of which the following is a copy:

[Illustration: Fig. 11.--Interior of House of Virginia Indians.
   With caption:
   Held this state & fashion when Capt. Smith
         was delivered to him prisoner

"Their houses are built," Smith remarks, "like our arbors, of small
young sprigs, bowed and tied, and so close covered with mats, or the
bark of trees, very handsomely, that notwithstanding either wind,
rain, or weather, they are as warm as stoves, but very smoky; yet,
at the top of the house there is a hole made for the smoke to go
into right over the fire. Against the fire they lie on little
hurdles of reeds covered with a mat, borne from the ground a
foot or more by a hurdle of wood. On these, round about the
house, they lie, heads and points, one by the other against
the fire, some covered with mats, some with skins, and some
stark naked lie on the ground, from six to twenty in a house."
[Footnote: History of Virginia, i, 130.]

The engraving is probably an improvement upon the original house in
the symmetry of the structure, but it is doubtless a truthful
representation of its mechanism. It seems likely that a double set
of upright poles were used, one upon the outside and one on the
inside, between which the mattings of canes or willows were secured,
as the houses at Pomeiock and Secotan are ribbed externally at
internals of about eight feet, showing four, five, and six sections.
Each house, on this hypothesis, would be from twenty-four to
forty-eight feet long. A reference (supra, p. 67) has been made to
the size of the houses of the Virginia Indians, from which their
communistic character may be inferred.

In the "Journal of a Voyage to New York," in 1679-1680, by Jasper
Dankers and Peter Sluyter, edited and translated by Hon. Henry C.
Murphy, there is a careful description of a house of the Nyack
Indians of Long Island, an Algonkin tribe, affiliated linguistically
with the Virginia Indians. The Nyack house corresponds very closely
with those last named. "We went from hence to her habitation," these
authors remark, "where we found the whole troop together, consisting
of seven or eight families, and twenty or twenty-two persons, I
should think. Their house was low and long, about sixty feet long
and fourteen or fifteen feet wide. The bottom was earth; the sides
and roof were made of reed and the bark of chestnut trees; the posts
or columns were limbs of trees stuck in the ground, and all fastened
together. The top or ridge of the roof was open about half a foot
wide, from one end to the other, in order to let the smoke escape,
in the place of a chimney. On the sides or walls of the house, the
roof was so low that you could hardly stand under it. The entrance,
or doors, which were at both ends, were so small and low that they
had to stoop down and squeeze themselves to get through them. The
doors were made of reed or flat bark. In the whole building there
was no lime, stone, iron, or lead. They build their fires in the
middle of the floor, according to the number of families which live
in it, so that from one end to the other each of them boils its own
pot, and eats when it likes, not only the families by themselves,
but each Indian alone, according as he is hungry, at all hours,
morning, noon, and night. By each fire are the cooking utensils,
consisting of a pot, a bowl or calabash, and a spoon, also made of a
calabash. These are all that relate to cooking. They lie upon mats
with their feet towards the fire, on each side of it. They do not
sit much upon anything raised up, but, for the most part, sit on the
ground or squat on their ankles. Their other household articles
consist of a calabash of water, out of which they drink, a small
basket in which to carry and keep their maize and small beans, and a
knife.... All who live in one house are generally of one stock or
descent, as father and mother with their offspring. Their bread is
maize pounded on a block by a stone, but not fine. This is mixed
with water and made into a cake, which they bake under the hot ashes.
They gave us a small piece when we entered, and although the grains
were not ripe, and it was half baked and coarse grains, we
nevertheless had to eat it, or, at least, not throw it away before
them, which they would have regarded as a great sin or a great
affront." [Footnote: Journal, etc., p. 124.]

There is nothing in these statements forbidding the supposition that
the household described practiced communism in living. The
composition of the household shows that it was formed on the
principle of gentle kin, while the several families cooked at the
different fires, which was the usual practice in the different tribes;
the stores were probably common, and the household under a matron.
It will be noticed also that they gave him maize bread when he first
entered the house. He little supposed that it was in obedience to a
law or usage universal in the Indian family.

[Illustration: Fig. 12.--Ho-de'-no-sote of the Seneca-Iroquois.]

During the greater part of the year the Iroquois resided in villages.
The size of the village was estimated by the number of the houses,
and the size of the house by the number of fires it contained. One
of the largest of the Seneca-Iroquois villages, situated at Mendon,
near Rochester, N. Y. is thus described by Mr. Greenbalgh, who
visited it in 1677: "Tiotohatton is on the brink or edge of a hill,
has not much cleared ground, is near the river Tiotohatton [outlet
of Honeoye Lake], which signifies bending. It lies to the westward
of Canagora (Canandaigua) about thirty miles, contains about 120
houses, being the largest of all the houses we saw, the ordinary
being fifty to sixty feet long, with twelve and thirteen fires in
one house. They have a good store of corn growing to the northward
of the town". [Footnote: Documentary History of New York, vol i. p 13.]

The "long-house" of the Iroquois, from which they called themselves,
as one confederated people, Ho-de'-no-sau-nee (People of the
Long-House), was from fifty to eighty and sometimes one hundred feet
long. It consisted of a strong frame of upright poles set in the
ground, which were strengthened with horizontal poles attached with
withes, and surmounted with a triangular, and in some cases with a
round roof. It was covered over, both sides and roof, with large
strips of elm bark tied to the frame with strings or splints. An
external frame of poles for the sides and of rafters for the roof
were then adjusted to hold the bark shingles between them, the two
frames being tied together.

[Illustration: Fig. 13.--Ground-plan of Seneca-Iroquois Long-House.]

The interior of the house was comparted at intervals of six or eight
feet, leaving each chamber entirely open like a stall upon the
passage way which passed through the center of the house from end to
end. At each end was a doorway cohered with suspended skins. Between
each four apartments, two on a side, was a fire-pit in the center of
the hall, used in common by their occupants. Thus a house with five
fires would contain twenty apartments and accommodate twenty families,
unless some apartments were reserved for storage. They were warm,
roomy, and tidily-kept habitations. Raised bunks were constructed
around the walls of each apartment for beds. From the roof-poles
were suspended their strings of corn in the ear, braided by the husks,
also strings of dried squashes and pumpkins. Spaces were contrived
here and there to store away their accumulations of provisions. Each
house, as a rule was occupied by related families, the mothers and
their children belonging to the same gens, while their husbands and
the fathers of these children belonged to other gentes; consequently
the gens or clan of the mother largely predominated in the household.
Whatever was taken in the hunt or raised by cultivation by any
member of the household, as has elsewhere been stated, was for the
common benefit. Provisions were made a common stock within the

Here was communism in living carried out in practical life, but
limited to the household, and an expression of the principle in the
plan of the house itself. Having found it in one stock as well
developed as the Iroquois, a presumption of its universality in the
Indian family at once arises, because it was a law of their condition.
Evidence of its general prevalence has elsewhere been presented.

In a previous chapter the usages of the Iroquois in regard to eating
have been given. It came practically to one cooked meal each day.
The separate fires in each house were for convenience in cooking,
all the stores in the house being common. The plan of life within
them was studied and economical. This is shown by the presence of a
matron in each household, who made a division of the food from the
kettle to each family according to their needs, and reserved what
remained for future disposal. It shows system and organization in
their long-houses, with a careful supervision of their stores, and
forethought as well as equity in the management and distribution of
their food. In these households, formed on the principle of kin, was
laid the foundation for that "mother power" which was even more
conspicuous in the tribes of the Old World, and which Professor
Bachofen was the first to discuss under the name of gyneocracy and
mother-right. [Footnote: Das Mutterrecht, Stuttgart, 1861.]

Since the mothers who dwelt together were usually sisters, own or
collateral, and of the same gens, and since their children were also
of the gens of their mother, the preponderating number in the
household would be of gentile kin. The right and the influence of
the mother were protected and strengthened through the maternal as
well as the gentile bond. The husbands were in the minority as to
kindred. In case of separation it was the husband and not the wife
who left the house. But this influence of the woman did not reach
outward to the affairs of the gens phratry, or tribe, but seems to
have commenced and ended with the household. This view is quite
consistent with the life of patient drudgery and of general
subordination to the husband which the Iroquois wife cheerfully
accepted as the portion of her sex. Among the Grecian tribes descent
had been changed to the male line at the commencement of the
historical period. It thus reversed the position of the wife and
mother in the household: she was of a different gens from her
children, as well as her husband; and under monogamy was now
isolated from her gentile kindred, living in the separate and
exclusive house of her husband. Her new condition tended to subvert
and destroy that power and influence which descent in the female
line and the joint-tenement houses had created. It is, therefore,
the more surprising that so many traces of this anterior condition
should have remained in the Grecian and other tribes which Professor
Bachofen has pointed out, since gyneocracy and mother-right, as
discussed by him, must have originated among these tribes when under
the gentile organization, and with descent in the female line.

The "Joint Undivided Family" of the Hindus at the present time,
"joint in food, worship, and estate," brought to our notice by Sir
Henry Maine, [Footnote: Early History of Institutions, Holt's ed., pp.
100 and 106.] is a similar but probably more numerous household
than that of the Iroquois. As soon as special investigation is made,
joint-tenement houses and communism in living are found to be
persistent features of barbarous life in the Old World as well as
the New, but limited to the household. Strabo informs us that the
Gauls lived in great houses, constructed of planks and wicker, with
dome roofs covered with heavy thatch. [Footnote: Lib. iv, c. 4, s. 3.]
Wherever such houses existed there is at least a presumption that
they were occupied by several families, who formed a single
household and practiced communism.

The Iroquois long-houses disappeared before the commencement of the
present century. Very little is now remembered by the Indians
themselves of their form and mechanism, or of the plan of life
within them. Some knowledge of these houses remains among that class
of Indians who are curious about their ancient customs. It has
passed into the traditionary form, and is limited to a few
particulars. A complete understanding of the mode of life in these
long-houses will not, probably, ever be recovered. In 1743 Mr. John
Bartram attended a council at Onondaga, and kept a journal,
afterwards published, in which he inserted a ground plan of the
long-house in which they were quartered. It is the first ground plan
of one of these houses ever published, so far as the author is aware,
and the only one prior to the appearance of Johnson's Cyclopaedia in

[Illustration: Fig. 14--Bartram's ground-plan and cross-section of
Onondaga Long-House, in 1743.]

It should be noted that in 1696 Count Frontenac invaded Onondaga
with a large French and Indian force, and that the Onondagas
destroyed their principal village and retired. "The cabins of the
Indians," says the relator, "and the triple palisade which encircled
their fort were found entirely burnt." [Footnote: Documentary
History of New York, p. 332.]

The new village visited by Mr. Bartram was probably quite near the
site of the old. He says, "The town in its present state is about
two or three miles long, yet the scattered cabins on both sides of
the water are not above forty in number; many of them hold two
families, but all stand single, so that the whole town is a strange
mixture of cabins, interspersed with great patches of high grass,
bushes and shrubs, some of peas, corn, and squashes.... We alighted
at the council-house, where the chiefs were already assembled to
receive us, which they did with a grave, cheerful complaisance
according to their custom. They showed us where to lay our luggage,
and repose ourselves during our stay with them, which was in the two
end apartments of this large house. The Indians that came with us
were placed over against us. This cabin is about eighty feet long
and seventeen broad, the common passage six feet wide, and the
apartments on each side five feet, raised a foot above the passage
by a long sapling hewed square, and fitted with joists that go from
it to the back of the house. On these joists they lay large pieces
of bark, and on extraordinary occasions spread mats made of rushes,
which favor we had. On these floors they set or lye down every one
as he will. The apartments are divided from each other by boards or
bark six or seven feet long from the lower floor to the upper, on
which they put their lumber. When they have eaten their hominy, as
they set in each apartment before the fire, they can put the bowl
over head, having not above five foot to reach. They set on the
floor sometimes at each end, but mostly at one. They have a shed to
put their wood into in the winter, or in the summer to set, converse
or play, that has a door to the south. All the sides and roof of the
cabin is made of bark, bound fast to poles set in the ground, and
bent round on the top, or set aflat for the roof as we set our
rafters; over each fire-place they leave a hole to let out the smoke,
which in rainy weather they cover with a piece of bark, and this
they can easily reach with a pole to push it on one side or quite
over the hole. After this manner are most of their cabins built."
[Footnote: Observations, etc.; Travels to Onondaga, Lond. ed., 1751,
pp. 40, 41]

The end section shows a round roof, as in the houses of the Virginia
Indians, and the ground plan agrees in all respects with the old
long-houses of the Seneca-Iroquois as described by them to the
author before he had seen Mr. Bartram's plan.

In the Documentary History of New York (vol. iii, p. 14) there is a
remarkable picture of the principal village of the Onondagas which
was visited or rather attacked by Champlain in 1615. The location of
this village was not established until 1877, when General John S.
Clarke, of Auburn, by means of Champlain's map and sketch of the
village, and his relation of the particulars of the expedition,
found the site of the village in the town of Fenner, some miles
northeast of the Onondaga Valley.

It was situated upon the edge of a natural pond, covering ten acres
of land, and between a small brook which emptied into the pond on
the left and the outlet of the pond which passed it on the right.
The space covered by the village site was about six acres of land,
strongly fortified by a series of palisades. Champlain states in his
relation that "their village was enclosed with strong quadruple
palisades of large timber, thirty feet high, interlocked the one
with the other, with an interval of not more than half a foot
between them, with galleries in the form of parapets, defended with
double pieces of timber, proof against our arquebuses, and on one
side they had a pond with a never-failing supply of water, from
which proceeded a number of gutters which they had laid along the
intermediate space, throwing the water without, and rendering it
effectual inside for the purpose of extinguishing the fire. Such was
their mode of fortification and defence, which was much stronger
than the villages of the Attigouatuans (Hurons) and others."
[Footnote: Doc. Hist. New York, iii, 14.]

Although Champlain attacked this place with fire-arms, then first
heard by the Onondagas, and by means of a rude tower of his invention,
and with a considerable force of French and Indians, he was unable
to capture it, and retired. The use of water, with gutters to flood
the ground upon an outer palisade when attacked with fire, as
imperfectly shown in the engraving, was certainly ingenious. General
Clarke has investigated the defensive works of the Iroquois, and it
is to be hoped that he will soon give the results to the public.

Knowing, as we now do, that the space inclosed within the palisades
was about six acres of land, the houses are not only seen to be log
houses, but arranged or constructed side by side in blocks, and the
whole thrown together in the form of a square, with an open space in
the center. The houses seem to be in threes and fours, and even sixes,
side by side, and from sixty to one hundred feet in length; but if
this conclusion is fairly warranted by the engraving, it might well
be that each house was separated from its neighbor by a narrow open
space or lane. It is the only representation I have ever seen of a
palisaded village of the Iroquois of the period of their discovery.
It covered about fifty-four acres of land.

The Mandans and Minnetarees of the Upper Missouri constructed a
timber-framed house, superior in design and in mechanical execution
to those of the Indians north of New Mexico. In 1862 I saw the
remains of the old Mandan village shortly after its abandonment by
the Arickarees, its last occupants. The houses, nearly all of which
were of the same model, were falling into decay--for the village was
then deserted of inhabitants, but some of them were still perfect,
and the plan of their structure easily made out. The above
ground-plan of the village was taken from the work of Prince
Maximilian, and the remaining illustrations are from sketches and
measurements of the author. It was situated upon a bluff on the west
side of the Missouri, and at a bend in the river which formed an
obtuse angle, and covered about six acres of land. The village was
surrounded with a stockade made of timbers set vertically in the
ground, and about ten feet high, but then in a dilapidated state.

[Illustration: Fig. 16.--Mandan Village Plot.]

The houses were circular in external form, the walls being about
five feet high, and sloping inward and upward from the ground, upon
which rested an inclined roof, both the exterior wall and the roof
being plastered over with earth a foot and a half thick. For this
reason they have usually been called "dirt lodges."

[Illustration: Fig. 17.--Ground-plan of a Mandan House.]

These houses are about forty feet in diameter, with the floor sunk a
foot or more below the surface of the ground, six feet high on the
inside at the line of the wall and from twelve to fifteen feet high
at the center. Twelve posts, six or eight inches in diameter, are
set in the ground, at equal distances, in the circumference of a
circle, and rising about six feet above the level of the floor.
String-pieces resting in forks cut in the ends of these posts, form
a polygon at the base and also upon the ground floor. Against these
an equal number of braces are sunk in the ground about four feet
distant, which slanting upward, are adjusted by means of depressions
cut in the ends, so as to hold both the posts and the stringers
firmly in their places. Slabs of wood are then set in the spaces
between the braces at the same inclination, and resting against the
stringers, which when completed surrounded the lodge with a wooden
wall. Four round posts, each six or eight inches in diameter, are
set in the ground near the center of the floor, in the angles of a
square, ten feet apart, and rising from ten to fifteen feet above
the ground floor. These again are connected by stringers resting in
forks at their tops, upon which and the external wall the rafters

[Illustration: Fig. 18.--Cross-section of House.]

The engraving exhibits a cross-section, as described. Poles three or
four inches in diameter are placed as rafters from the external wall
to the string-pieces above the central parts, and near enough
together to give the requisite strength to support thee earth
covering placed upon the roof. These poles were first covered over
with willow matting, upon which prairie grass was overspread, and
over all a deep covering of earth. An opening was left in the center,
about four feet in diameter, for the exit of the smoke and for the
admission of light. The interior was spacious and tolerably well
lighted, although the opening in the roof and a single doorway were
the only apertures through which light could penetrate. There was
but one entrance, protected by what has been called the Eskimo
doorway; that is, by a passage some five feet wide, ten or twelve
feet long, and about six feet high, constructed with split timbers,
roofed with poles, and covered with earth. Buffalo-robes suspended
at the outer and inner entrances supplied the place of doors. Each
house was comparted by screens of willow matting or unhaired skins
suspended from the rafters, with spaces between for storage. These
slightly-constructed apartments opened towards the central fire like
stalls, thus defining an open central area around the fire-pit,
which was the gathering place of the inmates of the lodge. This
fire-pit was about five feet in diameter, a foot deep, and encircled
with flat stones set up edgewise. A hard, smooth, earthen floor
completed the interior. Such a lodge would accommodate five or six
families, embracing thirty or forty persons. It was a communal house,
in accordance with the usages and institutions of the American
aborigines, and growing naturally out of their mode of life. I
counted forty-eight houses, winch would average forty feet in
diameter, all constructed upon this plan besides several rectangular
log houses of later erection and of the American type.

[Illustration: Fig. 19.--Mandan house.]

These houses, of which a representation is given in Fig. 19, were
thickly studded together to economize the space within the stockade,
so that in walking through the village you passed along some
circular foot-paths. There was no street, and it was impossible to
see in any direction except for short distances. In the center there
was an open space, where their religious rites and festivals were
observed. [Footnote: The war post, which stood in the center, and a
number of stone and bone implements I brought away with me, as
mementoes of the place. They are now in my collection.]

Not the least interesting fact connected with these creditable
structures was the quantity of materials required for their erection
and the amount of labor required for their transportation for long
distances down the river, and to fashion them, with the aid of fire
and stone implements, into such comfortable dwellings. The trees are
here confined to the bottom lands between the banks of the river,
the river being bordered for miles by open prairies, and the trees
growing in patches at long distances apart. To cut the timber
without metallic implements, and to transport it without animal power,
indicate a degree of persevering industry highly creditable to a
people who, at this stage of progress, are averse to labor on the
part of the males. Habitual male industry makes its first appearance
in the next or the Middle Status of barbarism. The men here did the
heavy work.

In the spaces between the lodges were their drying-scaffolds (Fig. 20),
one for each lodge, which were nearly as conspicuous in the distance
as the houses themselves. They were about twenty feet long, twelve
feet wide, and seven feet high to the flooring, made of posts set
upright, with cross-pieces resting in forks. Other poles were then
placed longitudinally, upon which was a flooring of willow mats.
These scaffolds, mounted with ladders (Fig. 21), were used for
drying their skins, and also their maize, meat, and vegetables.

[Illustration: Fig. 20.--Drying scaffold.]

[Illustration: Fig. 21.--Mandan ladder.]

The Indians knew the use of the ladder, and some of them made an
excellent article before the discovery of America. When Coronado
visited and captured the seven so-called cities of Cibola in
1540-1542, he found the people living in seven or eight large
joint-tenement houses, each capable of holding about a thousand
persons. These houses were without entrances from the ground, but
they mounted to the first terrace by means of ladders, and so to
each successive story above. "The ladders which they have for their
houses," Coronado says in his relation, "are all in a manner movable
and portable as ours be." [Footnote: Hakluyt, Coll. of Voyages,
London ed., 1812, vol. 5, p. 498.]

The ladders at the Mandan village were made of two limbs growing
nearly parallel and severed below the junction, as shown in the
figure, and set with the forked end upon the ground, and the ends
against the scaffold. Depressions were sunk in the rails to receive
the rounds, which were secured by rawhide strings. They were usually
from ten to twelve feet long, and one or two at each scaffold.

Situated thus picturesquely on a bluff, at an angle of the river,
with houses of this peculiar model and with such an array of
scaffolds rising up among them, the village was strikingly
conspicuous for some distance both above and below on the river, and
presented a remarkable appearance.

Afterwards, at the present Minnetaree and Mandan village about
sixty-five miles above on the east side of the Missouri, and also at
the new Arickaree village on the west side, and quite near it, I had
an opportunity to see houses precisely similar to those described in
actual occupation by the Indians, with their interior arrangements
and their mode of life.

A reference, at least, should be made to the Maricopas and Mohaves
of the Lower Colorado River, who, although village Indians of the
pueblo type, still live in ordinary communal houses of the northern
type, which are thus described by General Emory: "They (the Maricopas)
occupy thatched cottages thirty or forty feet in diameter, made of
twigs of cottonwood trees, interwoven with straw of wheat, cornstalks,
and cane." [Footnote: Notes, &c., New Mexico, p. 132. See also
Bartlet's Personal Narrative, p. 230.]

Those occupied by the Mohaves, as described by Captain Sitgreave,
are similar in character. [Footnote: Expedition, &c., Zunyi and
Colorado, p. 19.]

The Pimas of the Gila River, on the contrary, claim that their
ancestors erected houses of adobe brick, and cultivated by irrigation.
They point to the remains of ancient structures and of old acequias
in the valley of the Gila, as Captain Crossman informs us, as
the works of their forefathers. But now their condition is very
similar to that of the Mohaves. The last-named writer remarks that
"generally several married couples with their children live in one hut."
[Footnote: Smithsonian Report for 1871, p. 415.]

The first two tribes, although their antecedent history is little
known, seem to be in a transitional stage from the Lower to the
Middle Status of barbarism, having passed into the horticultural and
sedentary condition without being far enough advanced to imitate
their near neighbors in the use of adobe brick and of stone in their
houses. They seem to be existing examples of that ever-recurring
advancement of ruder tribes in past ages, through which the Village
Indians of the pueblo type were constantly replenished from the more
barbarous tribes. The present Taos Indians are another example.

It is made reasonably plain, I think, from the facts stated, that in
the Upper Status of savagery, and also in the Lower Status of
barbarism, the Indian household was formed of a number of families
of gentile kin; that they practiced communism in living in the
household, and that this principle found expression in their house
architecture and predetermined its character.



We are next to consider the houses and mode of life of the Sedentary
Village Indians, among whom architecture exhibits a higher
development, with the use of durable materials, and with the
defensive principle superadded to that of adaptation to communism in
living. It will not be difficult to discover and follow this latter
principle, as one of the chief characteristics of this architecture
in the pueblo houses in New Mexico, and in the region of the San
Juan River, and afterwards in those of Mexico and Central America.
Throughout all these regions there was one connected system of house
architecture, as there was substantially one mode of life.

In New Mexico, going southward, the Indians, at the epoch of
discovery, were not in a new dress and in an improved condition.
They had advanced out of the Lower and into the Middle Status of
barbarism; the houses in which they dwelt were of adobe brick or of
stone, two, three, four, and sometimes five and six stories in height,
and containing from fifty to five hundred apartments. They
cultivated maize and plants by means of irrigating canals. The water
was drawn from a running stream, taken at a point above the pueblo
and carried down and through a series of garden beds. They wore
mantles of cotton, as well as garments of skin.

[Footnote: "They have no cotton-wool growing, because the country is
cold, yet they wear mantles thereof, as your honor may see by the
show thereof; and true it is, that there was found in their houses
certain yarn made of cotton-wool."--Coronado's Relation, Hakluyt's
Coll. of Voyages, London ed., 1600, iii, p. 377.]

[Footnote: "Their garments were of cotton and deer skins, and the
attire, both of men and women, was after the manner of Indians of
Mexico.... Both men and women wore shoes and boots, with good soles
of neat's leather--a thing never seen in any part of the Indies."--
Voyages to New Mexico, by Friar Augustin Rueyz, a Franciscan, in 1581,
and Antonio de Espejo in 1583. Explorations for Railroad Route, &c.,
Report Indian Tribes, vol. iii, p. 114.]

The present Pueblo Indians of New Mexico are in the main their
descendants. They live, some of them, in the same identical houses
their forefathers occupied at the time of Coronado's expedition to
New Mexico in 1541-1542, as at Acoma, Jemez, and Taos, and although
their plan and mode of life have changed in some respects in the
interval, it is not unlikely that they remain to this day a fair
sample of the life of the Village Indians from Zunyi to Cuzco as it
existed in the sixteenth century.

The Indians north of New Mexico did not construct their houses more
than one story high, or of more durable materials than a frame of
poles or of timber covered with matting or bark, or coated over with
earth. A stockade around their houses was their principal protection.
In New Mexico, going southward, are met for the first time houses
constructed with several stories. Sun-dried brick must have come
into use earlier than stone. The practice of the ceramic art would
suggest the brick sooner or later. At all events, what are supposed
to be the oldest remains of architecture in New Mexico, such as the
Casas Grandes of the Gila and Salinas rivers, are of adobe brick.
They also used cobble-stone with adobe mortar, and finally thin
pieces of tabular sandstone, prepared by fracture, which made a
solid and durable stone wall. Some of the existing pueblo houses in
New Mexico are as old as the expedition of Coronado (1540-1542).
Others, constructed since that event, and now occupied, are of the
aboriginal model. There are at present about twenty of these pueblos
in New Mexico, inhabited by about 7, 000 Village Indians, the
descendants of those found there by Coronado. They are still living
substantially under their ancient organization and usages. Besides
these, there are seven pueblos of the Mokis, near the Little Colorado,
occupied by about 3,000 Indians, who have remained undisturbed to
the present time, except by Roman Catholic missionaries, and among
whom the entire theory of life of the Sedentary Village Indians may
yet be obtained. These Village Indians represent at the present
moment the type of life found from Zunyi to Cuzco at the epoch of
the Discovery, and, while they are not the highest, they are no
unfit representatives of the entire class.

The Yucatan and Central American Indians were, in their architecture,
in advance of the remaining aborigines of North America. Next to them,
probably, were the Aztecs, and some few tribes southward. Holding
the third position, though not far behind, were the Village Indians
of New Mexico. All alike they depended upon horticulture for
subsistence, and cultivated by irrigation; cotton being superadded
to the maize, beans, squashes, and tobacco, cultivated by the
northern tribes. Their houses, with those previously described,
represent together an original indigenous architecture, which, with
its diversities, sprang out of their necessities. Its fundamental
communal type, I repeat, is found not less clearly in the houses
about to be described, and in the so-called palace at Palenque, than
in the long-house of the Iroquois. An examination of the plan of the
structures in Mexico, New Mexico, and Central America will tend to
establish the truth of this proposition.

New Mexico is a poor country for civilized man, but quite well
adapted to Sedentary Indians, who cultivate about one acre out of
every hundred thousand. This region, and the San Juan, immediately
north of it, possessed a number of narrow fertile valleys,
containing together, possibly, 50,000 inhabitants, and it is
occupied now by their descendants (excepting the San Juan) in manner
and form as it was then. Each pueblo consisted either of a single
great house, or of three or four such houses grouped together; and
what is more significant, the New Mexican pueblo is a fair type of
those now found in ruins in Yucatan, Chiapas, Guatemala, and Honduras,
in general plan and in situation. All the people lived together in
these great houses on terms of equality, for their institutions were
essentially democratical. Common tenements for common Indians around
these structures were not found there by Coronado in 1541, neither
have any been found there since. There is not the slightest ground
for supposing that any such tenements ever existed around those in
Yucatan and Central America. Every structure was in the nature of a
fortress, showing the insecurity in which they lived.

Since the year 1846, the date of the conquest of New Mexico, a
number of military reconnaissances, under the direction of the War
Department, have been made in various parts of the Territory. The
army officers in change devoted their chief attention to the
physical geography and resources of the regions traversed; but,
incidentally, they investigated the pueblos in ruins, and the
present condition of the Pueblo Indians. The admirable manner in
which they have executed the work is shown by the series of reports
issued from time to time by the government. More recently, the
Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, under Prof. F.
V. Hayden, geologist in charge, and also the Geographical and
Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, Maj. J. W. Powell,
geologist in charge, have furnished a large amount of additional
information concerning the ruins on the San Juan and its tributaries,
the Cliff Houses on the Mancos River and elsewhere, and the Moki
Pueblos. Valuable as this information is to us, it falls short of a
full exposition of these several subjects.

At the time of Coronado's expedition to capture the Seven Cities of
Cibola, so called in the relations of the period, the aborigines of
New Mexico manufactured earthen vessels of large size and excellent
workmanship, wove cotton fabrics with spun thread, cultivated
irrigated gardens, were armed with the bow, arrow, and shield, wore
deer-skins and buffalo robes and also cotton mantles as external
garments, and had domesticated the wild turkey.

[Footnote: "We found here Guinea cocks [turkeys], but few. The
Indians tell me in all these seven cities that they eat them not,
but that they keep them only for their feathers. I believe them not,
for they are excellent good, and greater than those of Mexico."--
Coronado Rel., Hakluyt, iii, 377.]

"They had hardly provisions enough for themselves," remarks
Jaramillo of the Cibolans, "and what they had consisted of maize,
beans, and squashes." [Footnote: Relation of Capt. Juan Jaramillo,
Coll. Terneaux-Compans, ix, 369.]

"What was true of the Cibolans in this respect was doubtless true of
the Sedentary Indians in general. Each pueblo was an independent
organization under a council of chiefs, except as several contiguous
pueblos, speaking dialects of the same language, were confederated
for mutual protection, of which the seven Cibolan pueblos, situated
probably in the valley of the Rio Chaco, within an extent of twelve
miles, afford a fair example." The degree of their advancement is
more conspicuously shown in their house architecture.

The present Village Indians of New Mexico, or at least some of them,
still manufacture earthen vessels, and spin and weave cotton fabrics
in the aboriginal manner, and live in houses of the ancient model.
Some of them, as the Mokis and Lagunas, are organized in gentes, and
governed by a council of chiefs, each village being independent and
self-governing. They observe the same law of hospitality universally
practiced by the Northern Indians. Upon this subject, Mr. David J.
Miller, of Santa Fe, writes as follows to the author: "A visitor to
one of their houses is invariably tendered its hospitality in the
form of food placed before him. A failure to tender it is deemed a
grave breach of hospitality and an insult; and a declension to
partake of it would be regarded as a breach of etiquette. As among us,
they have their rich and their poor, and the former give to the
latter cheerfully and in due plenty." Here we find a nearly exact
repetition of the Iroquois and Mandan rules of hospitality before
given. Whether or not they formerly practiced communism in household
groups, I am not informed. Their houses are adapted to this mode of
life, as will presently be shown; and upon that fact and their stage
of social advancement, the deduction of the practice must for the
present rest.

       *       *       *       *       *


Santo Domingo is composed of several structures of adobe brick
grouped together, as shown in the engraving, Fig 22. Each is about
two hundred feet long, with two parallel rows of apartments on the
ground, of which the front row is carried up one story, and the back
two; the flat roof of the first story forming a terrace in front of
the second. The first story is closed up solid for defensive reasons,
with the exception of small window openings. The first terrace is
reached by means of ladders from the ground; the rooms in the first
story are entered through trap-doors in the floors, and in the
second through doors opening upon the terrace, and also through
trap-doors through the floors which form the roof. These structures
are typical of all the aboriginal houses in New Mexico. They show
two principal features: first, the terraced form of architecture,
common also in Mexico, with the house tops as the social gathering
places of the inmates; and, second, a closed ground story for safety.
Every house, therefore, is a fortress. Lieutenant Abert remarks upon
one of the houses of this pueblo, of which he gives an elevation,
that "the upper story is narrower than the one below, so that there
is a platform or landing along the whole length of the building. To
enter, you ascend to the platform by means of ladders that could
easily be removed; and, as there is a parapet wall extending along
the platform, these houses could be converted into formidable forts."
[Footnote: Ex. Doc. No. 41, 1st session 30th Congress, 1848, p. 462.]

The number of apartments in each house is not stated. The different
houses at that time were inhabited by eight hundred Indians.
Chimneys now appear above the roofs, the fire-place being at the
angle of the chamber in front. These were evidently of later
introduction. The defensive element, so prominent in this
architecture, was not so much to protect the Village Indians from
each other, as from the attacks of migrating bands flowing down upon
them from the North. The pueblos now in ruins throughout the
original area of New Mexico, and for some distance north of it,
testify to the perpetual struggle of the former to maintain their
ground, as well as prove the insecurity in which they lived. It
could be shown that the second and additional stories were suggested
by the defensive principle.

Zunyi, Fig. 23, is the largest occupied pueblo in New Mexico at the
present time. It probably once contained five thousand inhabitants,
but in 1851 the number was reduced to fifteen hundred. The village
consists of several structures, most of them accessible to each from
their roof terraces. They are constructed of adobe brick, and of
stone embedded in adobe mortar, and plastered over.

In the summer of 1879, Mr. James Stevenson, in charge of the field
parties under Major Powell, made an extended visit to Zunyi and the
neighboring pueblos, for the purpose of making collections of their
implements, utensils, etc., during which time the photographs from
which the accompanying illustrations of the pueblos were made. His
wife accompanied him, and she has furnished us the following
description of that pueblo:

"Zunyi is situated in Western New Mexico, being built upon a knoll
covering about fifteen acres, and some forty feet above the right
bank of the river of the same name.

"Their extreme exclusiveness has preserved to the Zunyians their
strong individuality, and kept their language pure. According to
Major Powell's classification, their speech forms one of four
linguistic stocks to which may be traced all the pueblo dialects of
the southwest. In all the large area which was once thickly dotted
with settlements, only thirty-one remain, and these are scattered
hundreds of miles apart from Taos, in Northern New Mexico to Islet,
in Western Texas. Among these remnants of great native tribes, the
Zunyians may claim perhaps the highest position, whether we regard
simply their agricultural and pastoral pursuits, or consider their
whole social and political organization.

"The town of Zunyi is built in the most curious style. It resembles
a great beehive, with the houses piled one upon another in a
succession of terraces, the roof of one forming the floor or yard of
the next above, and so on, until in some cases five tiers of
dwellings are successively erected, though no one of them is over
two stories high. These structures are of stone and 'adobe'. They
are clustered around two plazas, or open squares, with several
streets and three covered ways through the town.

"The upper houses of Zunyi are reached by ladders from the outside.
The lower tiers have doors on the ground plan, while the entrances
to the others are from the terraces. There is a second entrance
through hatchways in the roof, and thence by ladders down into the
rooms below. In many of the pueblos there are no doors whatever on
the ground floor, but the Zunyians assert that their lowermost
houses have always been provided with such openings. In times of
threatened attack the ladders were either drawn up or their rungs
were removed, and the lower doors were securely fastened in some of
the many ingenious ways these people have of barring the entrances
to their dwellings. The houses have small windows, in which mica was
originally used, and is still employed to some extent; but the
Zunyians prize glass highly, and secure it, whenever practicable, at
almost any cost. A dwelling of average capacity has four or five
rooms, though in some there are as many as eight. Some of the larger
apartments are paved with flagging, but the floors are usually
plastered with clay, like the walls. Both are kept in constant
repair by the women, who mix a reddish-brown earth with water to the
proper consistency and then spread it by hand, always laying it in
semicircles. It dries smooth and even, and looks well. In working
this plaster the squaw keeps her mouth filled with water, which is
applied with all the dexterity with which a Chinese laundry-man
sprinkles clothes. The women appear to delight in this work, which
they consider their special prerogative, and would feel that their
rights were infringed upon were men to do it. In building, the men
lay the stone foundations and set in place the huge logs that serve
as beams to support the roof, the spaces between these rafters being
filled with willow-brush; though some of the wealthier Zunyians use
instead shingles made by the carpenters of the village. The women
then finish the structure. The ceilings of all the older houses are
low; but Zunyi architecture has improved and the modern style gives
plenty of room, with doors through which one may pass without
stooping. The inner walls are usually whitened. For this purpose a
kind of white clay is dissolved in boiling water and applied by hand.
A glove of undressed goat-skin is worn, the hand being dipped in the
hot liquid and then passed repeatedly over the wall.

"In Zunyi, as elsewhere, riches and official position confer
importance upon their possessors. The wealthy class live in the
lower houses, those of moderate means next above, while the poorer
families have to be content with the uppermost stories. Naturally
no one will climb into the garret who has the means of securing
more convenient apartments, under the huge system of 'French
flats', which is the way of living in Zunyi. Still there is
little or no social distinction in the rude civilization, the whole
population of the town living almost as one family. The Alcalde, or
Lieutenant-Governor, furnishes an exception to the general rule, as
his official duties require him to occupy the highest house of all,
from the top of which he announces each morning to the people the
orders of the Governor, and makes such other proclamation as may be
required of him.

"Each family has one room, generally the largest in the house, where
they work, eat, and sleep together. In this room the wardrobe of the
family hangs upon a log suspended beneath the rafters, only the more
valued robes, such as those worn in the dance, being wrapped and
carefully stored away in another apartment. Work of all kinds goes
on in this large room, including the cookery, which is done in a
fire-place on the long side, made by a projection at right angles
with the wall, with a mantel-piece on which rests the base of the
chimney. Another fire-place in a second room is from six to eight
feet in width, and above this is a ledge shaped somewhat like a
Chinese awning. A highly-polished slab, fifteen or twenty inches in
size, is raised a foot above the hearth. Coals are heaped beneath
this slab, and upon it the Waiavi is baked. This delicious kind of
bread is made of meal ground finely and spread in a thin batter upon
the stone with the naked hand. It is as thin as a wafer, and these
crisp, gauzy sheets, when cooked, are piled in layers and then
folded or rolled. Light bread, which is made only at feast times, is
baked in adobe ovens outside the house. When not in use for this
purpose the ovens make convenient kennels for the dogs and
play-houses for the children. Neatness is not one of the
characteristics of the Zunyians. In the late autumn and winter
months the women do little else than make bread, often in fanciful
shapes, for the feasts and dances which continually occur. A sweet
drink, not at all intoxicating, is made from the sprouted wheat. The
men use tobacco, procured from white traders, in the form of
cigarettes from corn-husks; but this is a luxury in which the women
do not indulge.

"The Pueblo mills are among the most interesting things about the
town. These mills, which are fastened to the floor a few feet from
the wall, are rectangular in shape, and divided into a number of
compartments, each about twenty inches wide and deep, the whole
series ranging from five to ten feet in length, according to the
number of divisions. The walls are made of sandstone. In each
compartment a flat grinding stone is firmly set, inclining at an
angle of forty-five degrees. These slabs are of different degrees of
smoothness, graduated successively from coarse to fine. The squaws,
who alone work at the mills, kneel before them and bend over them as
a laundress does over the wash-tub, holding in their hands long
stones of volcanic lava, which they rub up and down the slanting
slabs, stopping at intervals to place the grain between the stones.
As the grinding proceeds the grist is passed from one compartment to
the next until, in passing through the series, it becomes of the
desired fineness. This tedious and laborious method has been
practiced without improvement from time immemorial, and in some of
the arts the Zunyians have actually retrograded."

The living-rooms are about twelve by eighteen feet and about nine
feet high, with plastered walls and an earthen floor, and usually a
single window opening for light. To form a durable ceiling round
timbers about six inches in diameter are placed three or four feet
apart from the outer to the inner wall. Upon these, poles are placed
transversely in juxtaposition. A deep covering of adobe mortar is
placed upon them, forming the roof terrace in front, and the floor
of the apartments above in the receding second story. Water-jars of
their own manufacture, of fine workmanship, and holding several
gallons, closely woven osier baskets of their own make, and blankets
of cotton and wool, woven by their own hand-looms, are among the
objects seen in these apartments. They are neatly kept, roomy and
comfortable, and differ in no respect from those in use at the
period of the conquest, as will elsewhere be shown. The mesa
elevation upon which the old town of Zunyi was situated is seen in
the background of the engraving, Fig. 23.

It should be noticed that this architecture, and the necessities
that gave it birth, led to a change in the mode of life from the
open ground to the terraces or flat roofs of these great houses.
When not engaged in tillage, the terraces were the gathering and
living places of the people. During the greater part of the year
they lived practically in the open air, to which the climate was
adapted, and upon their housetops, first for safety and afterwards
from habit.

Elevations of the principal pueblos of New Mexico have from time to
time been published. They agree in general plan, but show
considerable diversity in details. Rude but massive structures, they
accommodated all the people of the village in security within their

The Moki Pueblos are supposed to be the towns of Tusayan, visited by
a detachment of Coronado's expedition in 1541. Since the acquisition
of New Mexico they have been rarely visited, because of their
isolation and distance from American settlements.

The accompanying illustration of Wolpi, Fig. 25, one of these pueblos,
is from a photograph taken by Major Powell's party.

In 1858 Lieut. Joseph C. Ives, in command of the Colorado Exploring
Expedition, visited the Moki Pueblos, near the Little Colorado. They
are seven in number, situated upon mesa elevations within an extent
of ten miles, difficult of access, and constructed of stone.
Mi-shong'-i-ni'-vi, the first one entered, is thus described. After
ascending the rugged sides of the mesa by a flight of stone steps,
Lieutenant Ives remarks: "We came upon a level summit, and had the
walls of the pueblo on one side and an extensive and beautiful view
upon the other. Without giving us time to admire the scene, the
Indians led us to a ladder planted against the front face of the
pueblo. The town is nearly square, and surrounded by a stone wall
fifteen feet high, the top of which forms a landing extending around
the whole. Flights of stone steps led from the first to a second
landing, upon which the doors of the houses open. Mounting the
stairway opposite to the ladder, the chief crossed to the nearest
door and ushered us into a low apartment, from which two or three
others opened towards the interior of the dwelling. Our host
courteously asked us to be seated upon some skins spread along the
floor against the wall, and presently his wife brought in a vase of
water and a tray filled with a singular substance (tortillas), that
looked more like a sheet of thin blue wrapping paper than anything
else I had ever seen. I learned afterwards that it was made from
corn meal, ground very fine, made into a gruel, and poured over a
heated stone to be baked. When dry it has a surface slightly polished,
like paper. The sheets are folded and rolled together, and form the
staple article of food of the Moki Indians. As the dish was intended
for our entertainment, and looked clean, we all partook of it. It
has a delicate fresh-bread flavor, and was not at all unpalatable,
particularly when eaten with salt.... The room was fifteen feet by
ten; the walls were made of adobes; the partitions of substantial
beams; the floors laid with clay. In one corner were a fire-place
and chimney. Everything was clean and tidy. Skins, bows and arrows,
quivers, antlers, blankets, articles of clothing and ornament were
hanging upon the walls or arranged upon the shelves. At the other
end was a trough divided into compartments, in each of which was a
sloping stone slab, two or three feet square, for grinding corn upon.
In a recess of an inner room was piled a goodly store of corn in the
ear.... Another inner room appeared to be a sleeping apartment, but
this being occupied by females we did not enter, though the Indians
seemed to be pleased rather than otherwise at the curiosity evinced
during the close inspection of their dwelling and furniture.... Then
we went out upon the landing, and by another flight of steps
ascended to the roof, where we beheld a magnificent panorama.... We
learned that there were seven towns.... Each pueblo is built around
a rectangular court, in which we suppose are the springs that
furnish the supply to the reservoirs. The exterior walls, which are
of stone, have no openings, and would have to be scaled or battered
down before access could be gained to the interior. The successive
stories are set back, one behind the other. The lower rooms are
reached through trap-doors from the first landing. The houses are
three rooms deep, and open upon the interior court. The arrangement
is as strong and compact as could well be devised but as the court
is common, and the landings are separated by no partitions, it
involves a certain community of residence." [Footnote: Colorado
Exploring Expedition, p. 121.]

This account leaves a doubt whether the stones receded from the
inclosed court outward or from the exterior inward. Lieutenant Ives
does not state that he passed through the building into the court
and ascended to the first platform from within, and yet the
remainder of the description seems to imply that he did, and that
the structure occupied but three sides of the court, since he states
that "the houses are three rooms deep and open upon the interior
court." The structure was three stories high.

[Illustration: Fig. 26.--Room in Moki House.]

The above engraving was prepared for an article by Maj. Powell, on
these Indians. Two rooms are shown together, apparently by leaving
out the wooden partition which separated them, showing an extent of
at least thirty feet. The large earthen water-jars are interesting
specimens of Moki pottery. At one side is the hand mill for grinding
maize. The walls are ornamented with bows, quivers, and the floor
with water-jars, as described by Lieutenant Ives.

In places on the sides of the bluffs at this and other pueblos,
Lieutenant Ives observed gardens cultivated by irrigation. "Between
the two," he remarks, "the faces of the bluff have been ingeniously
converted into terraces. These were faced with neat masonry, and
contained gardens, each surrounded with a raised edge so as to
retain water upon the surface. Pipes from the reservoirs permitted
them at any time to be irrigated." [Footnote: Colorado Exploring
Expedition, p. 120.]

Fig. 27 shows one of two large adobe structures constituting the
pueblo of Taos, in New Mexico. It is from a photograph taken by the
expedition under Major Powell. It is situated upon Taos Creek, at
the western base of the Sierra Madre Range, which forms the eastern
border of the broad valley of the Rio Grande, into which the Taos
stream runs. It is an old and irregular building, and is supposed to
be the Braba of Coronado's expedition. [Footnote: Relation of
Castenada, Coll. H. Ternaeux-Compans. ix, 138. Trans. of American
Ethnological Society.]

Some ruins still remain, quite near, of a still older pueblo, whose
inhabitants, the Taos Indians affirm, they conquered and dispossessed.
The two structures stand about twenty-five rods apart, on opposite
sides of the stream, and facing each other. That upon the north side,
represented in the above engraving, is about two hundred and fifty
feet long, one hundred and thirty feet deep, and five stories high;
that upon the south side is shorter and deeper, and six stories high.
The present population of the pueblo, about four hundred, are
divided between the two houses, and they are a thrifty, industrious,
and intelligent people. Upon the east side is a long adobe wall,
connecting the two buildings, or rather protecting the open space
between them. A corresponding wall, doubtless, closed the space on
the opposite side, thus forming a large court between the buildings,
but, if so, it has now disappeared. The creek is bordered on both
sides with ample fields or gardens, which are irrigated by canals,
drawing water from the stream. The adobe is of a yellowish-brown
color, and the two structures make a striking appearance as they are
approached. Fire-places and chimneys have been added to the
principal room of each family; but it is evident that they are modern,
and that the suggestion came from Spanish sources. They are
constructed in the corner of the room. The first story is built up
solid, and those above recede in the terraced form. Ladders planted
against the walls show the manner in which the several stories are
reached, and, with a few exceptions, the rooms are entered through
trap-doors by means of ladders. Children and even dogs run up and
down these ladders with great freedom. The lower rooms are used for
storage and granaries, and the upper for living rooms; the families
in the rooms above owning and controlling the rooms below. The
pueblo has its chiefs.

The measurements of the two edifices were furnished to the writer in
1864 by Mr. John Ward, at that time a government Indian agent, by
the procurement of Dr. M. Steck, superintendent of Indian affairs in
New Mexico. Among further particulars given by Mr. Ward are the
following: "The thickness of the walls of these houses depends
entirely upon the size of the adobe and the way in which it is laid
upon the wall; that is, whether lengthwise or crosswise. There is no
particular standard for the size of the adobes. On the buildings in
question the adobes on the upper stories are laid lengthwise, and
will average about ten inches in width, which gives the thickness of
the walls. On the first story or ground rooms the adobes are in most
places laid crosswise, thus making the thickness of these walls just
the length of the adobe, which averages about twenty inches. The
width of an adobe is usually one-half its length, and the thickness
will average about four inches. The floors and roofs are coated with
mud mortar from four to six inches thick, which is laid on and
smoothed over with the hand. This work is usually performed by women.
When the right kind of earth can be obtained the floor can be made
very hard and smooth, and will last a very long time without needing
repairs. The walls both inside and out are coated in the same manner.
On the inside, however, more care is taken to make the walls as even
and smooth as possible, after which they are whitewashed with gesso
or gypsum."

Several rooms on the ground floor were measured by Mr. Ward and
found to be, in feet, 14 by 18, 20 by 22, and 24 by 27, with a
height of ceiling averaging from 7 to 8 feet. In the second story
they measured, in feet, 14 by 23, 12 by 20, and 15 by 20, with a
height of ceiling varying from 7 to 7 1/2 feet. The rooms in the
third, fourth, and fifth stories were found to diminish in size with
each story. There is probably a mistake here, as the main
longitudinal partition walls must have been carried up upon each
other from bottom to top. A few of the doorways were measured and
found to range from 2 1/2 feet wide by 4 1/2 feet high and 2 1/3
feet wide by 4 10/12 feet high. The scuttles or trap-doors in the
floors, through which they descended into these rooms by means of
ladders, were 3 feet by 2 1/2, 3 feet by 2, and 1 feet 10 inches by
2 1/2 feet, and the window openings through the walls were, in
inches, 14 by 14, 8 by 16, 16 by 20, and 18 by 18.

Mr. Ward then proceeds: "No room has more than two windows; very few
have more than one. The back rooms usually have one or more round
holes made through the walls from six to eight inches in diameter
These openings furnish the apartments with a scanty supply of light
and air The first story or the ground rooms are usually without
doors or windows, the only entrance being through the scuttle-holes
or doors in the roof, which are within the rooms comprising the
story immediately above. These basement rooms are used for
store-rooms. Those in the upper stories are the rooms mostly
inhabited. Those located in the front part of the building receive
their light through the doors and windows before described. The back
rooms have no other light than that which goes in through the
scuttle-holes and the partition walls leading from the front rooms,
that is, where a room is so situated as to have both. Others again
have no other light than that which enters through the holes already
described. Such rooms are always gloomy. Some families have as many
as four or five rooms, one of which is set apart for cooking, and is
furnished with a large fire-place for the purpose. Those who have
only two or three rooms usually cook and sleep in the same apartment,
and in such cases they cook in the usual fireplace, which stands in
one corner of the room. No perceptible addition has been made to
either of the buildings for many years, and it is evident that after
the death or removal of their owners they were entirely neglected.
Those in good condition are still occupied. From the best
information attainable the original buildings were not erected all
at one time, but were added to from time to time by additional rooms,
including the second, third, and more stories. There are no regular
terraces, the roof of the rooms below answering that purpose. Thus
it is that no entire circuit can be made around any one of these
stories, the only thing that can be called a terrace being the
narrow space left in front of some of the rooms from the roofs of
the lower rooms."

Mr. Ward seems to object to the word "terrace" in defining the
platform left in front of each story as a means of access to its
apartments and to the successive stories. It was used by the early
Spanish writers to explain the same peculiarity found in many of the
great houses in the pueblo of Mexico and elsewhere over Mexico, the
roofs being flat and the stories receding from each other. While
this platform is not in strictness a terrace, the term expresses
this architectural feature with sufficient clearness. The two
structures at Taos are large enough to accommodate five hundred
persons in each, the inmates living in the Indian fashion. They were
occupied in 1864 by three hundred and sixty-one Taos Indians.

"Each terrace is reached," remarks Mr. Miller before mentioned,
speaking of the pueblos in general, "by a wooden ladder, first from
the ground and afterward from the one below; and ingress and egress
to and from the rooms below is on the inside in the room above
through trap-doors and upon ladders. It is wonderful to see with
what agility the Indian children and the dogs run up and down these
ladders. Nowhere is there any side communication between the rooms
in the great building, and but one family occupy each series of
rooms situated one above the other." This last statement is too
broadly made, as we have seen that Mr. Ward has given the
measurements of doors through partition walls. Such doors will also
be shown in a subsequent engraving. But there is no doubt of the
fact that the number of lateral rooms communicating with each other
was small, and that the families or groups, if such existed, united
in a communal household, were separated from each other by solid
partition walls, a fact which will reappear in the house-architecture
of Yucatan.

In 1877, David J. Miller, esq, of Santa Fe, visited the Taos Pueblo
at my request, to make some further investigations. He reports to me
the following facts: The government is composed of the following
persons, all of whom, except the first, are elected annually. 1. A
cacique or principal sachem. 2. A governor or alcalde. 3. A
lieutenant-governor. 4. A war captain, and a lieutenant war captain.
5. Six fiscals of policemen. "The cacique," Mr. Miller says,
"has the general control of all officers in the performance of their
duties, transacts the business of the pueblo with the surrounding
whites, Indian agents, etc., and imposes reprimands or severer
punishments upon delinquents. He is keeper of the archives of the
pueblo; for example, he has in his keeping the United States patent
for the tract of four square leagues on which the pueblo stands,
which was based upon the Spanish grant of 1689; also deeds of other
purchased lands adjoining the pueblo. He holds his office for life.
At his death, the people elect his successor. The cacique may,
before his death, name his successor, but the nomination must be
ratified by the people represented by their principal men assembled
in the estufa. In this cacique may be recognized the sachem of the
northern tribes, whose duties were purely of a civil character.
Mr. Miller does not define the duties of the governor. They were
probably judicial, and included an oversight of the property rights
of the people in their cultivated lands, and in rooms or sections of
the pueblo houses."

"The lieutenant-governor," he remarks, "is the sheriff to receive
and execute orders. The war captain has twelve subordinates under
his command to police the pueblo, and supervise the public grounds,
such as grazing lands, the cemetery, estufas, &c. The lieutenant war
captain executes the orders of his principal, and officiates for him
during his absence, or in case of his disability. The six fiscals
are a kind of town police. It is their duty to see that the
catechism (Catholic) is taught in the pueblo, and learned by the
children, and generally to keep order and execute the municipal
regulations of the pueblo under the direction of the governor, who
is charged with the duty of seeing to their execution."

"The regular time for meeting in the estufa is the last day of
December, annually, for the election of officers for the ensuing year.
The cacique, governor, and principal men nominate candidates, and
the election decides. There may also be a fourth nomination of
candidates, that is, by the people. In the election, all adult males
vote; the officers first, and then the general public. The officers
elected are at the present time sworn in by the United States
Territorial officials."

In this simple government we have a fair sample, in substance and in
spirit, of the ancient government of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico.
Some modification of the old system may be detected in the
limitation of officers below the grade of cacique to one year. From
what is known of the other pueblos in New Mexico, that of Taos is a
fair example of all of them in governmental organization at the
present time. They are, and always were, essentially republican,
which is in entire harmony with Indian institutions. I may repeat
here what I have ventured to assert on previous occasions, that the
whole theory of governmental and domestic life among the Village
Indians of America from Zunyi to Cuzco can still be found in New

The representation of a room in this pueblo, Fig. 28, is from a
sketch by Mr. Galbraith, who accompanied Major Powell's party to New

What Mr. Miller refers to as "property rights and titles" and
"ownership in fee" of land, is sufficiently explained by the
possessory right which is found among the northern Indian tribes.
The limitations upon its alienation to an Indian from another pueblo,
or to a white man, not to lay any stress upon the absence of written
titles or conveyances of land which have been made possible by
Spanish and American intercourse, show very plainly that their ideas
respecting the ownership of the absolute title to land, with power
to alienate to whomsoever the person pleased, were entirely above
their conception of property and its uses. All the ends of
individual ownership and of inheritance were obtained through a mere
right of possession, while the ultimate title remained in the tribe.
According to the statement of Mr. Miller, if the father dies, his
land is divided between his widow and children, and if a woman, her
land is divided equally between her sons and daughters. This is an
important statement, because, assuming its correctness, it shows
inheritance of children from both father and mother, a total
departure from the principles of gentile inheritance. In 1878 I
visited the Taos pueblo. I could not find among them the gens or clan,
[Footnote: Mr. Baudelier has since ascertained that they are
organized in gentes.] and from lack of time did not inquire into
their property regulations or rules of inheritance. The dozen large
ovens I saw while there near the ends or in front of the two
buildings, each of which was equal to the wants of more than one
family, were adopted from the Spanish. They not unlikely had some
connection with the old principle of communism.

It will prove a very difficult undertaking to ascertain the old mode
of life three hundred and fifty years ago in New Mexico, Mexico, and
Central America, as it was then in full vitality, a natural
outgrowth of Indian institutions. The experiment to recover this
lost condition of Indian society has not been tried. The people have
been environed with civilization during the latter portion of this
period, and have been more or less affected by it from the beginning.
Their further growth and development was arrested by the advent of
European civilization, which blighted their more feeble culture.
Since their discovery they have steadily declined in numbers, and
they show no signs of recovery from the shock produced by their
subjugation. Among the northern tribes, who were one Ethnical Period
below the Pueblo Indians, their social organization and their mode
of life have changed materially under similar influences since the
period of discovery. The family has fallen more into the strictly
monogamian form, each occupying a separate house; communism in
living in large households has disappeared, the organization into
gentes has in many cases fallen out or been rudely extinguished by
external influences; and their religious usages have yielded. We
must expect to find similar and even greater changes among the
Village Indians of New Mexico. The white race were upon them in
Mexico and New Mexico a hundred years earlier than upon the Indian
tribes of the United States. But, as if to stimulate investigation
into their ancient mode of life, some of these tribes have continued
through all these years to live in the same identical houses
occupied by their forefathers in 1540 at Acoma, Jemez, and Taos.
These pueblos were contemporary with the pueblo of Mexico captured
by Cortez in 1520. The present inhabitants are likely to have
retained some part of the old plan of life, or some traditionary
knowledge of what it was. They must retain some of the usages and
customs with respect to the ownership and inheritance of sections of
these houses, and of the limitations upon the power of sale that
they should not pass out of the kinship. The same also with respect
to sections of the village garden. All the facts with respect to
their ancient usages and mode of life should be ascertained, so far
as it is now possible to do so from the present inhabitants of these
pueblos. The information thus given will serve a useful purpose in
explaining the pueblos in ruins In Yucatan and Central America, as
well as on the San Juan, the Chaco, and the Gila.

At the time of their discovery the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico
generally worshiped the sun as their principal divinity. Although
under constraint they became nominally Roman Catholic, they still
retain, in fact, their old religious beliefs. Mr. Miller has sent me
some information upon this subject concerning the pueblos of Taos,
Jemez, and Zia.

"Before the Spaniards forced their religion upon the people, the
pueblo of Taos had the Sun for their God, and worshiped the Sun as
such. They had periodical assemblages of the authorities and the
people in the estufas for offering prayers to the Sun, to supplicate
him to repeat his diurnal visits, and to continue to make the maize,
beans, and squashes grow for the sustenance of the people. 'The Sun
and God,' said the governor (Mirabal) to me, 'are the same. We
believe really in the Sun as our God, but we profess to believe in
the God and Christ of the Catholic Church and of the Bible. When we
die, we go to God in Heaven. I do not know whether Heaven is in the
Sun, or the Sun is Heaven. The Spaniards required us to believe in
their God, and we were compelled to adopt their God, their church,
and their doctrines, willing or unwilling. We do not know that under
the American Government we may exercise any religion we choose, and
that the National Government and the church government are wholly
disconnected. We have very great respect and reverence for the Sun.
We fear that the Sun will punish us now, or at some future time, if
we do evil. The modern pueblos have the Sun religion really, but
they profess the Christian religion, of which they know nothing but
what the Catholic religion teaches. They always believed that
Montezuma would come again as the messiah of the pueblo. The
Catholic religion has been so long outwardly practiced by the people
that it could not now, they think, be easily laid aside, and the old
Sun religion be established, because it is looked upon as
established by the law of the land, and therefore necessarily
practiced. Nevertheless, the Indians will always follow and practice,
as they do, both religions. If,' said the governor, 'one Indian here
at this pueblo were to declare that he intended to renounce and
abandon the religion of his fathers (the worship of the Sun) and
adopt the Christian religion as his only faith, and another Indian
were to declare that he intended to repudiate the Christian religion
and adopt and practice only the Sun religion, the former would be
expelled the pueblo, and his property would be confiscated, but the
other would be allowed to remain with all his rights.'

"There are three old men in the pueblo whose duty it is to impart
the traditions of the people to the rising generation. These
traditions are communicated to the young men according to their ages
and capacities to receive and appreciate them. The Taos Indians have
a tradition that they came from the north; that they found other
Indians at this place (Taos) living also in a pueblo; that these
they ejected after much fighting, and took and have continued to
occupy their place. How long ago this was they cannot say, but it
must have been a long time ago. The Indians driven away lived here
in a pueblo, as the Taos Indians now do."

Mr. Miller also communicates a conversation had with Juan Jose, a
native of Zia, and Jose Miguel, a native of Pecos, but then (December,
1877) a resident of the pueblo of Jemez, which he wrote down at the
time, as follows: "Before the Spaniards came, the religion of Jemez,
Pecos and Zia, and the other pueblos, was the Montezuma religion. A
principal feature of this religion was the celebration of Dances at
the pueblo. In it, God was the sun. Seh-un-yuh was the land the
Pueblo Indians came from, and to it they went when dead. This
country (Seh-un-yuh) was at Great Salt Lake. They cannot say whether
this lake was the place where the Mormons now live, but it was to
the north. Under this great lake there was a big Indian Pueblo, and
it is there yet. [Footnote: The Iroquois have a similar tradition of
the ancient existence of an Indian village under Otsego Lake in New
York.] The Indian dances were had only when prescribed by the cacique.
The Pueblo Indians now have two religions, that of Montezuma, and
the Roman Catholic. The Sun, Moon, and Stars were Gods, of which the
greatest and most potent was the Sun; but greater than he was
Montezuma. In time of drought, or actual or threatened calamity, the
Pueblo Indians prayed to Montezuma, and also to the Sun, Moon, and
Stars. The old religion (that of Montezuma) is believed in all the
New Mexican pueblos. They practice the Catholic religion ostensibly;
but in their consciences and in reality the old religion is that of
the pueblos. The tenets of the old religion are preserved by
tradition, which the old men communicate to the young in the estufas.
At church worship the Pueblo Indians pray to God, and also to
Montezuma and the Sun; but at the dances they pray to Montezuma and
the Sun only. During an actual or threatened calamity the dances are
called by the cacique. They have two Gods; the God of the Pueblos,
and the God of the Christians. Montezuma is the God of the Pueblo."

This account of the Sun worship of the Taos Indians, in which is
intermingled that of Montezuma, and the further account of the
worship of Montezuma at the pueblos of Zia and Jemez, with the
recognition of the worship of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, are both
interesting and suggestive. It is probable that Sun worship is the
older of the two, while that of Montezuma, as a later growth,
remained concurrent with the other in all the New Mexican pueblos
without superseding it. In this supernatural person, known to them
as Montezuma, who was once among them in bodily human form, and who
left them with a promise that he would return again at a future day,
may be recognized the Hiawatha of Longfellow's poem, the
Ha-yo-went'-ha of the Iroquois. It is in each case a ramification of
a widespread legend in the tribes of the American aborigines, of a
personal human being, with supernatural powers, an instructor of the
arts of life; an example of the highest virtues, beneficent, wise,
and immortal.

"They have," remarks Mr. Miller, "one curious custom which has
always been observed in the pueblo. It is for some one (sometimes
several simultaneously) to seclude themselves entirely from the
outer world, abstaining absolutely from all personal communication
with others, and devoting themselves solely to prayer for the pueblo
and its inhabitants. This seclusion lasts eighteen months, during
which they are furnished daily, by a confidential messenger, with a
little food, just enough to preserve life, and during which time
they may not even inquire about their wives or children or be told
anything of them though the messenger may know that some of them are
sick or have died. The food the recluse is permitted to use is corn,
beans, squashes, and buffalo and deer meat; that is, such food as
was used before the coming of the Spaniards. This religious
seclusion is in honor of the Sun. It is one of the rites of the
ancient religion of the Pueblo, preserved and practiced now. One of
the old men I talked with said that he had himself the previous year
emerged from this hermitage; three others were now in, they having
retired to exile in February, 1877, and will emerge in August, 1878,
then to learn the news of the previous year and a half."



The finest structures of the Village Indians in New Mexico, and
northward of its present boundary line, are found on the San Juan
and its tributaries, unoccupied and in ruins. Even the regions in
which they are principally situated are not now occupied by this
class of Indians, but are roamed over by wild tribes of the Apaches
and the Utes. The most conspicuous cluster of these ruined and
deserted pueblos are in the canyon or valley of the Rio Chaco, which
stream is an affluent of the San Juan, a tributary of the Colorado.
Similar ruins of stone pueblos are also found in the valley of the
Animas River, and also in the region of the Ute Mountain in
Southwestern Colorado. Ruins of clusters of small single houses
built of cobble-stone and adobe mortar, and of large pueblos of the
same material, are to be seen in the La Plata Valley, and in the
Montezuma Valley, west of the Mancos River. On the Mancos River are
a large number of cliff houses of stone, and also round towers of
stone, of which the uses are not at present known. Cliff houses are
also found on the Dolores River. Other ruins are found in the canyon
of the Rio de Chelly.

The supposition is reasonable that the Village Indians north of
Mexico had attained their highest culture and development where
these stone structures are found. They are similar in style and plan
to the present occupied pueblos in New Mexico, but superior in
construction, as stone is superior to adobe or to cobble-stone and
adobe mortar. They are also equal, if not superior, in size and in
the extent of their accommodations, to any Indian pueblos ever
constructed in North America. This fact gives additional interest to
these ruins, which are here to be considered.

Two separate explorations and reports upon the Chaco ruins have been
made. The first was by Lieut. J. H. Simpson, who examined them in
1849 and first brought them to notice, and the second was a
re-examination by William H. Jackson in 1877. He was connected with
Prof. F. V. Hayden's Geological and Geographical Survey of the
Territories, and his report is in that of Professor Hayden,
published in 1878, p. 411.

The canyon of the Chaco, which commences about one hundred and ten
miles northwest from Santo Domingo, on the Rio Grande, is quite
remarkable. It has enough of the characteristics of the canyon to
justify the application of this peculiar term. But it differs from
the great canyons in the lowness of the bordering walls and in the
great breadth of the space between. Neither Simpson nor Jackson
describe the canyon or valley with as much particularity as could be
desired, but Mr. Jackson has furnished a map, Fig. 29, showing the
course of the stream with the walls of the canyon shaded in, and
with the breaks or gullies through these walls reduced to a scale.
This shows that the level plain between the encompassing walls
ranges from half a mile to a mile in places. The walls of the canyon
are composed of friable sandstone, and are usually vertical. Their
height is not given with precision. The engraving also shows the
outline forms and comparative size of the several structures, with
specimens of three varieties of masonry used in the walls. No. 2
shows an alternation of courses of stone from four to six inches
thick and from eight to twelve inches long, with intervening courses
of several thin stones. The same alternation of courses reappears in
the pueblos in ruins on the Animas River, about sixty miles north.
The canyon commences very much like the McElmo Canyon in
Southwestern Colorado, whose vertical walls are at first about three
feet high, with a level space between from three hundred to five
hundred feet in width; its walls rising slowly as you descend.
Without a present running stream, and bordered with open prairie land,
it makes a novel appearance to the eye. Lieutenant Simpson remarks
that after leaving the pueblo Pintado, which is above the
commencement of the canyon, "two miles over a slightly rolling
country, our general course still being to the northwest, brought us
to the commencement of the Canyon de Chaco, its width here being
about two hundred yards. Friable sandstone rocks, massive above,
stratified below, constitute its enclosing walls." [Footnote:
Lieutenant Simpson's Report, p. 77.]

And Mr. Jackson, who entered it from the same point, remarks that
"two miles from the river we descended into the canyon of the Chaco.
It is here only about fifty feet in depth, with vertical walls of
yellowish gray sandstone." [Footnote: Hayden's Report, p. 436.]

At a point twelve miles down, at the Pueblo Una Vida, he remarks
that "the canyon is here about five hundred yards wide, and is
perfectly level from one side to the other."

[Footnote: ib., p. 437.] Farther down the walls of the canyon rise
about a hundred feet, as appears in the restorations of the Pueblo
Bonito and of the Pueblo of Hungo Pavie. Whether the canyon is
accessible or not from the table-land above over against the several
pueblos, by means of the arroyos which break through the walls and
enter the canyon, does not appear from these reports; but it seems
probable, Mr. Jackson says, that near the Pueblo Bonito he ascended
to the top of the bluff by means of a stairway partly cut in the
face of the rock. [Footnote: ib., p. 448.]

Lieutenant Simpson, in his report, has furnished ground plans of
five of these structures with measurements. Mr. Jackson has
furnished eleven ground plans with measurements, two of which are
without the canyon. They agree substantially, but we shall follow
Mr. Jackson, as his are the most complete. The following engravings,
with two or three exceptions, are taken from his report. The
remainder are from Lieutenant Simpson's report.

The great edifices on the Chaco are all constructed of the same
materials, and upon the same general plan, but they differ in ground
dimensions, in the number of rows of apartments, and, consequently,
in the number of stories. They contained from one hundred to six
hundred apartments each, and would severally accommodate from five
hundred to four thousand persons, living in the fashion of Indians.
Speaking of the Pueblo of Pintado, Lieutenant Simpson remarks as
follows: "Forming one structure, and built of tabular pieces of hard,
fine-grained, compact, gray sandstone (a material entirely unknown
in the present architecture of New Mexico), to which the atmosphere
has imparted a reddish tinge, the layers or beds being not thicker
than three inches, and sometimes as thin as one-fourth of an inch,
it discovers in the masonry a combination of science and art which
can only be referred to a higher stage of civilization and
refinement than is discoverable in the works of Mexicans or Pueblos
of the present day. Indeed, so beautifully diminutive and true are
the details of the structure as to cause it at a little distance to
have all the appearance of a magnificent piece of mosaic work."

"In the outer face of the buildings there are no signs of mortar,
the intervals between the beds being chinked with stones of the
minutest thinness. The filling and backing are done in rubble masonry,
the mortar presenting no indications of the presence of lime. The
thickness of the main wall at base is within an inch or two of three
feet; higher up, it is less, diminishing every story by retreating
jogs on the inside, from bottom to top. Its elevation at its present
highest point is between twenty-five and thirty feet, the series of
floor beams indicating that there must have been originally three
stories. The ground plan, including the court, in exterior
development is about 403 feet. On the ground-floor, exclusive of the
out-buildings, are fifty-four apartments, some of them as small as
five feet square, and the largest about twelve by six feet. These
rooms communicate with each other by very small doors, some of them
as contracted as two and a half by two and a half feet; and in the
case of the inner suite, the doors communicating with the interior
court are as small as three and a half by two feet. The principal
rooms, or those most in use, were, on account of their having large
doors and windows, most probably those of the second story. The
system of flooring seems to have been large transverse unhewn beams,
six inches in diameter, laid transversely from wall to wall, and
then a number of smaller ones, about three inches in diameter, laid
longitudinally upon them. What was placed upon these does not appear,
but most probably it was brush, bark, or slabs, covered with a layer
of mud-mortar. The beams show no signs of the saw or axe; on the
contrary, they appear to have been hacked off by means of some very
imperfect instrument. On the west face of the structure, the windows,
which are only in the second story, are three feet two inches by two
feet two inches. On the north side they are only in the second and
third stories, and are as small as fourteen by fourteen inches. At
different points about the premises were three circular apartments
sunk in the ground, the walls being of masonry. These apartments the
Pueblo Indians called estufas, or places where the people held their
political and religions meetings." [Footnote: Simpson's Report, p. 76.]

The main building, Fig. 30, is two hundred and thirty-eight feet long,
and the wing one hundred and seventy-four feet. It seems probable,
from the symmetrical character of most of these structures, that the
original plan contemplated an extension of the main building, the
addition of another wing, to be followed by the connection of the
wings with a wall, thus closing the court. These buildings were not
all completed at once, but were extended and increased in the number
of stories from generation to generation, as the people increased in
numbers and prosperity. The plan upon which these houses were
erected favored such extension. The great size of some of these
structures can only be explained by the hypothesis of growth through
long periods of time. The stone for building this pueblo was found
quite near. Mr. Jackson remarks that "on the side of the bluff
facing the valley is an outcrop of a yellowish-gray sandstone,
showing in some places a seam of from twelve to eighteen inches in
thickness, where the rock breaks into thin slate-like layers. It was
from this stratum that most of the material in the walls was obtained."
[Footnote: Jackson's Report, p. 433.] He further remarks concerning
the estufas: "In the northwest angle of the court are two circular
rooms, or estufas, the best preserved one of which is built into the
main building and forms a portion of it, while the other stands
outside, but in juxtaposition, and is evidently a later and less
perfect addition. They are each twenty-five feet in diameter. The
inside walls are perfectly cylindrical, and in the case of the inner
one are in good preservation for a height of about five feet....
There are no side apertures, so that light and access was probably
obtained through the roof. These estufas, which figure so
prominently in these ruins and in fact in all the ancient ruins
extending southward from the basin of the Rio San Juan, are so
identical in their structure, position, and evident uses with the
similar ones in the pueblos now inhabited, that they indisputably
connect one with the other, and show this region to have been
covered at one time with a numerous population, of which the present
inhabitants of the pueblos of Moki and of New Mexico are either the
remnants or the descendants.... Beneath the ground plan [in Fig. 30]
is a section through a restoration of the pueblo from north to south,
showing the manner in which the stories were probably terraced from
the interior of the court outward. There is no positive evidence in
any of these ruins that they were thus built, but this arrangement
naturally suggests itself as being the only way in which light and
ease of access to the inner rooms could be readily obtained. It is
also quite certain from the character of the standing walls that
they were not terraced symmetrically but irregularly, after the
manner of the present pueblos. There is every reason to believe that
the first story was, in every case, reached from the outside by
ladders, the succeeding stories being also approached from the
outside, either by ladders or by stone stairways, after the manner
of the Moqui pueblos. There is no positive evidence to sustain any
conjecture upon this point, as in every ruin the upper stories are
so entirely dismantled that no indications of any sort of stairway
have ever been found. The ground-floor was divided into smaller
apartments than the second floor, many of the rooms, as shown in the
plan, being in the lower story divided into two or three. It would
be impossible to say how high this story had been, as the floor is
covered to a considerable extent with stones from the fallen walls.
The second floor was ten feet between joists, and the third somewhat
less, about seven feet, as near as we could judge from below. It is
probable that there was a fourth story, but there is now very little
evidence of it. Not a vestige of the vigas or other floor-timbers
now remain. Some of the lintels over the doors or windows, composed
of sticks of wood from one to two inches in thickness, laid close
together, are now in fair preservation." [Footnote: Jackson's Report,
p. 434.]

Twelve miles down the canyon from the Pueblo Pintado, are the ruins
of the Pueblo Wege-gi, Fig. 30. The main building is two hundred and
twenty-four feet, and the length of each wing is one hundred and
twenty feet, measured on the outside, but which would include the
depth of the main building. It is remarkably symmetrical. The rooms,
Mr. Jackson says, are small, the largest being eight by fourteen feet,
and the smallest eight feet square, and the estufas are each thirty
feet in diameter. It is built like the last pueblo "of small tabular
pieces of sandstone, arranged with beautiful effect of regularity
and finish."

The Pueblo of Una Vida, Fig. 31, seems to have been in process of
construction, and designed, when completed, to have been one of the
largest in the valley. The main building is two hundred and fifty
feet in length, and the wing two hundred feet. It requires for its
completion a considerable extension of the main building, and the
addition of another wing. If this supposition is tenable, it serves
to show that these great houses were of slow construction, by the
process of addition and extension from time to time, with the
increase of the people in numbers. Upon this theory of construction,
the first row of the main building on the court side would first be
completed one story high, and covered with a flat roof; after which,
by adding one parallel wall with partition walls at intervals, as
many more apartments would be obtained; and by a third and fourth
parallel wall, with partitions, twice as many more. The second row
was carried up two stories, the third three, and the fourth four;
the successive stories receding from the court side in the form of
great steps or terraces, one above the other. The wings would be
commenced and completed in the same manner. Further than this, it
seems evident, from the present condition of the structure, that the
main building was to be considerably extended, with a second wing
like the first to fill out the original design and produce a
symmetrical edifice. If these inferences are warranted, the
interesting conclusion is reached that these Indian architects
commenced their great houses upon a definite plan, which was to be
realized in its completeness after years and perhaps generations had
passed away. Like the pueblo last named, it is built of tabular
pieces of sandstone, and is two miles and a half lower down in the

The highest portions of the wall still standing in this pueblo are
fifteen feet in height, twenty-five feet in Wege-gi, and thirty feet
in Hungo Pavie.

The Pueblo of Hungo Pavie or Crooked Nose, Fig. 31, is situated one
mile further down in the canyon, upon the north side, and quite near
the bordering walls. In exterior development, including the court,
it is eight hundred and seventy-two feet, of which the back wall
measures three hundred, and the side walls or wings one hundred and
forty-four feet each. It is of medium size, but symmetrical, and
larger than any single aboriginal structure in Central America in
ground dimensions. There are seventy-three apartments in the first
story, some of which are unusually large, being about thirteen by
eighteen feet, and with fifty-three rooms in the second story, and
twenty-nine in the third, contain an aggregate of one hundred and
fifty-five rooms. It would accommodate from eight hundred to one
thousand Indians.

To complete the representation of the architectural design of these
"great houses of stone," the annexed elevation is given, Fig. 32. It
is a restoration of the Pueblo of Hungo Pavie, made by Mr. Kern, who
accompanied General Simpson as draughtsman, and copied from his
engraving. The walls of the canyon are seen in the background of
engraving. We may recognize in this edifice, as it seems to the
author, a very satisfactory reproduction of the so-called palaces of
Montezuma, which, like this, were constructed on three sides of a
court which opened on a street or causeway, and in the terraced form.
From the light which this architecture throws upon that of the Aztecs,
which was contemporary, it appears extremely probable that these
famous palaces, considered as exclusive residences of an Indian
potentate, are purely fictitious; and that, on the contrary, they
were neither more nor less than great communal or joint-tenement
houses of the aboriginal American model, and with common Indians
crowding all their apartments. From what is now known of the
necessary constitution of society among the Village Indians, it
scarcely admits of a doubt that the great house in which he lived
was occupied on equal terms by many other families in common with
his own, all the individuals of which were joint proprietors of the
establishment which their own hands had constructed.

Two miles further down, and upon the north side of the canyon, near
the bluff, are the ruins of the Pueblo of Chettro Kettle, or the
Rain Pueblo, Fig. 33. The main building and the wings face the court,
from which alone they are entered, and from which the several
stories recede outward. Including the court, this great edifice has
an exterior development of one thousand three hundred feet. The
exterior wall of the main building measures four hundred and
fifty-two feet in length, and the longest of the wings two hundred
and twenty feet. These measurements are according to General Simpson.

From these measurements some impression may be formed of the extent
of the accommodations such an edifice would afford, especially in
Indian life, where a married pair and their children are found in a
smaller space than one of these apartments supplied. The plan shows
one hundred and seventy-five apartments in the ground story; one
hundred and thirty-four in the second; one hundred and thirteen in
the third; sixty in the fourth, and twenty-four in the fifth--making
an aggregate of five hundred and six apartments. It is not probable
that the several stories were carried up symmetrically, which would
involve a diminution of some of the rooms in the upper stories. This
pueblo is constructed of the same materials as those before named.
"The circular estufas," Lieutenant Simpson remarks, "of which there
are six in number, have a greater depth than any we have seen, and
differ from them also in exhibiting more stories, one of them
certainly showing two, and possibly three, the lowest one appearing
to be almost covered up with debris."

This room, Fig. 34, is described by Lieutenant Simpson, but at the
time of Mr. Jackson's visit he was unable to find it. "In the
northwest corner of the ruins," Lieutenant Simpson remarks,
"we found a room in an almost perfect state of preservation.... This
room is fourteen by seven and a half feet in plan, and ten feet in
elevation. It has an outside doorway, three and a half feet high by
two and a quarter wide, and one at its west end, leading into the
adjoining room, two feet wide, and at present, on account of rubbish,
only two and a half feet high. The stone walls still have their
plaster upon them in a tolerable state of preservation. In the south
wall is a recess or niche, three feet two inches high by four feet
five inches wide by four deep. Its position and size naturally
suggested the idea that it might have been a fire-place, but if so,
the smoke must have returned to the room, as there was no chimney
outlet for it. In addition to this large recess, there were three
smaller ones in the same wall. The ceiling showed two main beams,
laid transversely; on these, longitudinally, were a number of
smaller ones in juxtaposition, the ends being tied together by a
species of wooden fibre, and the interstices chinked in with small
stones; on these, again, transversely, in close contact, was a kind
of lathing of the odor and appearance of cedar, all in a good state
of preservation." [Footnote: Lieutenant Simpson's Report, p. 63.]

When in its original condition, this fine pueblo must have made a
very striking appearance.

Immediately under the walls of the canyon, and about a quarter of a
mile below the last pueblo, are the ruins of the still-greater
Pueblo Bonito, Fig. 35. This edifice is, in some respects, the most
interesting of the series as well as the best preserved in certain
portions. Its exterior development, including the court, is one
thousand three hundred feet. Its corners are rounded, and the east
wing, now the most ruinous part of the structure, appears to have
had row upon row of apartments added, until nearly one-third of the
area of the court was covered. "Its present elevation," General
Simpson observes, "shows that it had at least four stories of
apartments. The number of rooms on the ground floor is one hundred
and thirty-nine. In this enumeration, however, are not included the
apartments which are not distinguishable in the eastern portion of
the pueblo, and which would swell the number to about two hundred.
There, then, having been at least four stories of rooms ... there
must be a reduction ... of one range of rooms for every story after
the first, which would increase the number to six hundred and
forty-one." [Footnote: Simpson's Report, p. 81.]

No single edifice of equal accommodations, it may be here repeated,
has ever been found in any part of North America. It would
accommodate three thousand Indians.

One of the best of its rooms is shown in the engraving, Fig. 36. It
will compare, not unfavorably, with any of equal size to be found at
Palenque or Uxmal, although, from the want of a vaulted ceiling, not
equal in artistic design. The nice mechanical adjustment of the
masonry and the finish of the ceiling are highly creditable to the
taste and skill of the builders. "It is walled up," says Simpson,
"with alternate beds of large and small stones, the regularity of
the combination producing a very pleasant effect. The ceiling of
this room is also more tasteful than any we have seen, the
transverse beams being smaller and more numerous, and the
longitudinal pieces, which rest upon them, only about an inch in
diameter, and beautifully regular These latter have somewhat the
appearance of barked willow. The room has a doorway at each end, and
one at the side, each of them leading into adjacent apartments. The
light is let in by a window two feet by eight inches on the north
side." [Footnote: Simpson's Report, p. 81.]

Mr. Jackson's study of the ruins enabled him to produce a restoration,
which is given in his report, and of whose plate Fig. 37 is a copy.
It is an interesting work, considered as a restoration, which can
only claim to be an approximation. It will be noticed that three
passage-ways were left open into the court, although the ground plan
shows but one. In the Yucatan edifices, as the House of the Nuns at
Uxmal, there is usually an arched gateway through the center of the
building facing the court. The court was also open at each of the
four angles, which, however, might have been protected by palisades
in time of danger. The walls of the canyon are seen in the
background of the engraving.

Of this pueblo, Mr. Jackson remarks that "three hundred yards below
are the ruins of the Pueblo del Arroyo, Fig. 38, so named probably
because it is on the verge of the deep arroyo which traverses the
middle of the canyon." This was given only a passing glance by
Simpson, but it well repays more careful inspection. It is of the
rectangular form, but with the open space or court facing a few
degrees north of east. The west wall is two hundred and sixty-eight
feet long, and the two wings one hundred and twenty-five and one
hundred and thirty-five feet, respectively; their ends connected by
a narrow and low semi-circular wall. The wings are the most
massively-built and best-preserved portion of the whole building,
that portion which lies between them and back of the court being
much more ruinous and dissimilar in many respects. The walls, of the
south wing, which are in the first story, very heavy and massive,
are still standing to the height of the third story. Many, of the
vigas are still in place, and are large and perfectly smooth and
straight undressed logs of pine, averaging ten inches in thickness;
none of the smaller beams or other wood-work now remains. There is
one estufa thirty-seven feet in diameter in this wing. In the north
wing the walls are standing somewhat higher, but do not indicate
more than three stories, though there was probably another. The
vigas of the second floor project through the wall for a distance of
about five feet along its whole northern face, the same as in the
Pueblo Hungo Pavie. There are two estufas; one near the east end of
the wing, which is twenty-seven feet in diameter, was three stories
in height. The floor-beams are removed, but the remains show this
plainly. The interior is nearly filled up, but it was originally
over twenty-five feet in depth. The ruins of the other estufa are
insignificant compared with this, and it probably consisted of but
one low room. Facing the center of the court are remains of what
were three circular rooms. At the end of the wings, outside of the
building, are faint outlines of other circular apartments or
inclosures, shown by dotted lines on the plan. In the central
portion of the ruin, between the two wings, some rooms have been
preserved entire. I crawled down into one of these through a small
hole in the covering, and found its walls to consist of delicate
masonry, thinly plastered and whitewashed. The ceiling was formed in
the usual manner, fine willow brush supporting the earthen floor
above, instead of the lath-like sticks or thin boards that were used
in the exceptional cases noted.

Two miles below the Pueblo del Arroyo are the ruins of the Pueblo of
Penyasca Blanca, Fig. 39. "This is the largest pueblo in plan we
have seen," Lieutenant Simpson remarks, "and differs from others in
the arrangement of the stones composing its walls. The walls of the
other pueblos were all of one uniform character in the several beds
composing it; but in this there is a regular alternation of large
and small stones, which are about one foot in length and one-half a
foot in thickness, form but a single bed, and then, alternating with
these, are three or four beds of very small stones, each about an
inch in thickness. The general plan of the structure also differs
from the others in approximating the form of the circle. The number
of the rooms at present discoverable upon the first floor is one
hundred and twelve: and the existing walls show that there have been
at least three stories of apartments. The number of circular estufas
we counted was seven." [Footnote: Simpson's Report, p. 64.]

"In point of size," Mr. Jackson remarks, "the rooms of this ruin
will average larger than in most of the others; the twenty-eight
rooms, as they appear on the outer circumference, average twenty
feet in length from wall to wall inside. The smallest, which are
only ten feet wide, are at the two ends. The width of the rooms of
each tier appears to have been constant throughout the length of the
whole ruin. The dimensions given in these drawings are, in nearly
every case, of those apartments which constitute the second story,
as it is in those that there is the least obscuration of the walls.

"In most of the ruins the first floor is almost entirely filled up
with debris, but when the ruins can be followed they show that this
floor is generally divided into much smaller apartments, two or
three occurring sometimes in place of each one above them. The
eastern half of the ellipse, as above said, consists of a single
continuous line of small apartments, with a uniform width of
thirteen feet inside and an average length of twenty feet. By a
curious coincidence the same number of rooms are in this row as in
the outer tier of the main building. The walls of the central
portion for a distance of about two hundred feet are in fair
preservation, standing in places six to eight feet in height, the
dividing walls showing apertures leading from one room to another.
They are built of stones uniform in size, averaging six by nine by
three and a half inches. Mortar was used between the stones instead
of the small plates of stone. At both ends, for a distance of some
two hundred feet from the point of juncture with the main building,
the walls are entirely leveled, but enough remains to show the
dimensions of each apartment. Twenty yards from the south end of the
building are the ruins of a great circular room fifty feet in
diameter, with some portions of its interior wall in such
preservation that its character is readily discernible." [Footnote:
Hayden's Tenth Annual Report, 1878, p. 446.]

Without the canyon, upon the mesa, and about half a mile back of the
bluff, upon the north side, are the ruins of the Pueblo Alto,
constructed of stone on three sides of a court, like those before
described. The main building is three hundred feet long, and one
wing is two hundred feet measured externally from the back end of
the main building, the other wing is one hundred and seventy feet
measured the same way. This wing is but two rooms deep, while the
main building and the other wing are each three rooms deep. It has
six estufas, with remains of a convex wall, connecting the two wings,
and inclosing the court. These estufas, like those in the other
pueblos, suggest the probability that they were places for holding
the councils of the gentes and phratries.

This great ruin, with two others of smaller size, shown in Fig. 38
as No. 8 and No. 9, of which the first is one hundred and
thirty-five feet long and one hundred feet deep, and the other
seventy-eight by sixty-three feet, both of stone, complete the list
of ruins in the canyon. The pueblo of Pintado, is, however, at the
upper end, and without the canyon, and the Pueblo Alto, not yet
described, is not in the canyon, but on the bluff. It is a
remarkable display of ancient edifices; the most remarkable in New
Mexico. With the bordering walls of the canyon, rising vertically,
in places, one hundred feet high, it presented long vistas in either
direction, with natural and inclosing walls. Shut in from all view
of the table lands at the summit of these walls, this valley, at the
time its great houses were occupied, must have presented a very
striking picture of human life as it existed in the Middle Period of
Barbarism. The greater part of the valley must have been covered
with garden beds, from which the people derived their principal
support, as the mesa lands without the canyon were too dry for
cultivation. It no doubt presented an interesting picture of
industrious and contented life, with a corresponding advancement in
the arts of this period. There is still some uncertainty concerning
the time when these pueblos were last occupied, and the fate of
their inhabitants. There are a number of circumstances tending to
show that they were the "Seven Cities of Cibola," against which the
expedition of Coronado was directed in 1540-1542. There are seven
pueblos in ruins in the canyon, without reckoning Nos. 8 and 9, the
smallest in the valley. Some of the facts which point to these
pueblos as the Towns of Cibola may here be noted.

In his Relation to the Viceroy, which is dated from the province of
Cibola, August 3, 1540, Coronado describes his conquest and
intimates his disappointment in the following language:

"It remaineth now to certify your Honor of the seven cities, and of
the kingdoms and provinces whereof the Father Provincial made report
unto your Lordship. And, to be brief, I can assure your Honor he
said the truth in nothing that he reported, but all was quite
contrary, saving only the names of the cities, and great houses of
stone, for although they be not wrought with turqueses, nor with lime,
nor bricks, yet they are very excellent good houses, of three, or
four, or five lofts high, wherein are good lodging and fair chambers,
with ladders instead of stairs, and certain cellars under the ground,
very good and paved, which are made for winter,--they are in manner
like stoves; and the ladders which they have for their houses are in
a manner moveable and portable, which are taken away and set down
when they please; and they are made of two pieces of wood, with
their steps, as ours be. The seven cities are seven small towns, all
made with these kind of houses that I speak of; and they stand all
within four leagues together, and they are all called the Kingdom of
Cibola, and every one of them have their particular name, and none
of them is called Cibola, but all together they are called Cibola.
And this town, which I call a city, I have named Granada, as well
because it is somewhat like unto it, as also in remembrance of your
Lordship. In this town where I now remain there may be some two
hundred houses, all compassed with walls; and, I think, that, with
the rest of the houses which are not so walled, they may be together
five hundred. There is another town near this, which is one of the
seven, and it is somewhat bigger than this, and another of the same
bigness that this is of, and the four are somewhat less; and I send
them all painted unto your Lordship with the voyage. And the
parchment wherein the picture is was found here with other parchments.
The people of this town seem unto me of a reasonable stature, and
witty, yet they seem not to be such as they should be, of that
judgment and wit to build these houses in such sort as they are....
They travel eight days' journey unto certain plains lying towards
the North Sea. In this country there are certain skins, well dressed;
and they dress them and paint them where they kill their oxen
[buffalo]; for so they say themselves." [Footnote: Hakluyt, vol iii,
p. 377.]

On the fourth day after the capture of Cibola, Coronado further says:
"They set in order all their goods and substance, their women and
children, and fled to the hills, leaving their towns as it were
abandoned, wherein remained very few of them." [Footnote: ib., vol.
iii, p. 379.]

It will be observed that the phrases "great houses of stone," and
"good houses of three, or four, or five lofts high," not only
describe the pueblo on the Chaco in apt language, but there are no
other pueblos in New Mexico, exclusively of stone, of which we have
knowledge, except those of the Mokis, in the Canyon de Chelly, on
the Animas River, and elsewhere in Southwestern Colorado. There is
an apparent difficulty in the narrative, in the reference made to
the number of houses; but it is evident, I think, that Coronado
meant apartments or sections, treating each great house as a block
of houses, and expressing a doubt of their "judgment and wit to
build these houses in such sort as they are." If any doubt remained,
it is entirely removed by the fact that all the pueblo houses in New
Mexico, whether occupied or in ruins, are great edifices constructed
like these on the communal principle, and that two hundred such
houses grouped in one town were an utter impossibility.

Jaramillo, who wrote his Relation some time after the return of the
expedition, remarks, "that all the water-courses that we fell in with,
whether brook or river, as far as that of Cibola, and I believe for
one or two days' journey beyond, flow in the direction of the South
Sea [the Pacific]; farther on they take the direction of the North
Sea [the Atlantic]". [Footnote: Col. H. Ternaux-Compans, vol. ix, p.

This tends to show that Cibola was situated on a tributary of the
Colorado, which gathers all the waters of New Mexico west of the Rio
Grande and north of the Gila, and also that it was situated quite
near the dividing ridge. It is but ten miles from the Canyon de
Torrejon, on the Puerco, a tributary of the Rio Grande, to the
commencement of the Rio de Chaco, an affluent of the San Juan, and
but twenty-three miles to the Pueblo Pintado. In this respect the
sites of the ruins on the Chaco are in close agreement with the
description of the situations of the towns of Cibola. Castanyada,
after speaking of the seven villages, and the character of the houses,
remarks that "the valley is very narrow, between precipitous
mountains" ["C'est une vallee tres-etroite entre des montagues
escarpees"], [Footnote: Castenyada Relation, Ternaux-Compans, ix, p.
164.] which, in the light of Coronado's declaration, that "the
country is all plain, and on no side mountains," may perhaps have
reference to the encompassing walls of the canyon. This language,
literally interpreted, does not describe this canyon, neither is
there any valley in New Mexico, occupied by pueblos, which answers
this description.

Upon the evidence contained in these several narratives, and with
our present knowledge of New Mexico, the sites of the seven towns of
Cibola cannot be determined with certainty. It is a question of
probabilities; and those which seem the strongest in favor of the
ruins on the Chaco are the following: Firstly, they are superior,
architecturally, to any pueblos in New Mexico, now existing or in
ruins, and agree in number and in proximity to each other, with the
towns of Cibola as described. Secondly, they are upon an affluent of
the San Juan, and within "one or two days' journey" of the waters
which flow into the Gulf of Mexico; in other words, they are near
the summit of the watershed of the two oceans, where Jaramillo
distinctly states Cibola was situated. Thirdly, they are within
eight days of the buffalo ranges, the nearest of which are upon the
northeastern confines of New Mexico. Cibola was said to be thus
situated. Moreover, the name Cibola implies the buffalo country. We
are also told by Friar Marcos that the Indians south of the Gila
trafficked with the Cibolans for ox-hides, which he found them
wearing. Zunyi, the only known place, showing a probability that it
was one of the seven towns, is too far distant from the buffalo
ranges to answer to this portion of the narrative. Lastly, the
evidence, collectively, favors a far northern as well as far eastern
position for Cibola. The people of Cibola knew nothing of either
ocean. This could hardly have been true of the people of Zunyi with
respect to the Pacific, or at least the Gulf of California. Coronado
himself was in doubt as to which sea was nearest, and seems to have
been conscious of the widening of the continent upon both sides of
him. Assuming that the pueblos on the Chaco were inhabited in 1540,
they were the finest structures then in New Mexico. Coronado
captured all the villages on the Rio Grande, and probably sent a
detachment to the Moki Pueblos, and remained two years in the country.
It seems impossible, therefore, that he should have failed to find
the pueblos on the Chaco; and they answer his description better
than any other pueblos in New Mexico.

With respect to the manner of constructing these houses, it was
probably done, as elsewhere remarked, from time to time, and from
generation to generation. Like a feudal castle, each house was a
growth by additions from small beginnings, made as exigencies
required. When one of these houses, after attaining a sufficient size,
became overcrowded with inhabitants, it is probable that a strong
colony, "like the swarm from the parent hive, moved out, and
commenced a new house, above or below, in the same valley." This
would be repeated, as the people prospered, until several pueblos
grew up within an extent of twelve or fifteen miles, as in the
valley of the Chaco. When the capabilities of the valley were
becoming overtaxed for their joint subsistence, the colonists would
seek more distant homes. At the period of the highest prosperity of
these pueblos, the valley of the Chaco must have possessed
remarkable advantages for subsistence. The plain between the walls
of the canyon was between half a mile and a mile in width near the
several pueblos, but the amount of water now passing through it is
small. In July, according to Lieutenant Simpson, the running stream
was eight feet wide and a foot and a half deep at one of the pueblos;
while Mr. Jackson found no running water and the valley entirely dry
in the month of May, with the exception of pools of water in places
and a reservoir of pure water in the rocks at the top of the bluff.
The condition of the region is shown by these two statements. During
the rainy season in the summer, which is also the season of the
growing crops, there is an abundance of water; while in the dry
season it is confined to springs, pools and reservoirs. From the
number of pueblos in the valley, indicating a population of several
thousand, the gardens within it must have yielded a large amount of
subsistence; the climate being favorable to its growth and ripening.



About sixty miles north of the pueblos on the Chaco, and in the
valley of the Animas River, is a cluster of stone pueblos, very
similar to the former. These I visited in 1878. The valley is broad
at this point, and for some miles above and below to its mouth. At
the time of our visit (July 22) the river was a broad stream,
carrying a large volume of water. We followed down the river from
the point of its rise in the dividing range, where it was a mere
brook, nearly the whole distance through Silverton to Animas City.
The constant accession of mountain streams, and the rapid descent of
its bed, soon changed it into a noisy and dashing stream. About
twenty miles above Animas City we were compelled to ascend to the
top of the bordering mountains to avoid the narrow canyon below,
which was impassable; and in descending from Animas City to visit
these pueblos we crossed over to the La Plata Valley, and after
passing through this valley we recrossed to the Animas Valley to
avoid similar canyons also impassable. The supply of water for
irrigation at the pueblo was abundant. [Footnote: The engravings of
Figs. 40, 41 and 41a were kindly loaned by Mr. F. W. Putnam of the
Peabody Museum, Cambridge, Mass.]

The pueblo of which the ground plan is shown, Fig. 40, is one of
four situated within the extent of one mile on the west side of the
Animas River in New Mexico, about twelve miles above its mouth.
Besides these four, there are five other smaller ruins of inferior
structures within the same area. This pueblo was five or perhaps six
stories high, consisting of a main building three hundred and
sixty-eight feet long, and two wings two hundred and seventy feet
long, measured along the external wall on the right and left sides,
and one hundred and ninety-nine feet measured along the inside from
the end back to the main building.

[Illustration: Fig. 40--Ground plan of Pueblo on Animas River, N.

A fourth structure crosses from the end of one wing to the end of
the other, thus inclosing an open court. It was of the width of one
and perhaps two rows of apartments, and slightly convex outward,
which enlarged somewhat the size of the court. The main building and
the wings were built in the so-called terraced form; that is to say,
the first row of apartments in the main building and in each wing on
the court side were but one story high. The second row back of these
were carried up two stories high, the third row three stories, and
so on to the number of five stories for the main building and four
for each wing. The external wall rose forty or fifty feet where the
structure was five stories high and but ten feet on the court side,
including a low parapet wall, where the structure was but one story
high. There was no entrance to these great structures in the ground
story. After getting admission within the court, they ascended to
the roof of the first row of apartments by means of ladders, and in
the same way, by ladders, to each successive story. As the second
story receded from the first, the third from the second, and so on,
each successive story made a great step ten feet high. The
apartments were entered through trap-doors in the roof of each story,
the descent being by ladders inside. In some places, without doubt,
the upper stories were entered by doorways from the roof of the
story in front.

The two wings are a mass of ruins. Pit-holes along the summit show
the forms of the rooms, with plain traces of the original walls here
and there, and excavations, made by curious settlers, have opened a
number of rooms in the ground story of one of the wings. These we
entered and measured. Some of the rooms were faced with stone, i.e.,
we found a stone wall regularly laid up, like the one in the main
building, as will elsewhere be shown. Some of the walls in these
rooms were of cobblestone and adobe; others were of stone with
natural faces and cobblestone intermixed. We saw no wall of adobe
brick alone. The fallen walls formed a mass about twelve feet deep
over the site of the wings, being the deepest on the outside and
thinning out on the court side.

The mass of material used in the construction of these edifices was
very great and surprises the beholder. It is explained in part by
the thickness of the walls. We measured a number of them. They were
two feet four inches, two feet six inches, two feet nine inches,
three feet, and in rare cases three feet six inches thick. None
measured less than two feet.

The main building was originally the best constructed part of the
edifice, it may be supposed, because a part of it now remains
standing. The walls of the first story, of some part of the second,
and, in some places, of a part of the third story, forming the
second row of apartments from the outside, are still standing, and
rise about twenty five feet from the ground. The measurements of the
second row of apartments, as shown in the diagram were from the
standing walls, and were made in the second story.

The first or basement story is filled up with the rubbish of the
fallen walls, ceilings, and floors, in the second row of apartments
named. In some cases they are full above the line of the original
ceilings; in others nearly up to them. The main ceiling beams were
of yellow cedar from eight to twelve inches in diameter, usually
three and four in number, and were placed across the narrow way of
the room. Stubs of these beams still remain in the walls parallel
with the court. Just above the line of these beams in the other two
walls were the ends of a row of poles about four inches in diameter,
which passed transversely across the cedar beams Stubs of these poles,
broken off short at the line of the walls, still remain in place.
Upon these poles were originally thin pieces of split cedar limbs,
and then the floor of adobe mortar, four or five inches thick. We
thus get the position and height of the floor of the first and
second stories, which were about nine feet six inches for the ground
story, and nine feet for the second story.

The external wall of the main building has fallen the entire length
of the structure. As these ruins are resorted to by the few settlers
in the valley as a stone quarry to obtain stone for foundations to
their houses and barns, and for stoning up their wells, the loose
material is being gradually removed, and when the standing walls are
more convenient to take they will be removed also. One farmer told
me he thought that one quarter of the accessible material of this
and the adjacent stone pueblo had already been removed. It is to be
hoped that the number of these settlers inclined to Vandalism will
not increase.

A part of the partition walls which connected the outside wall with
the next parallel wall is still standing where the wall last named
rises above the second story. They stand out for three or four feet
like buttresses against the wall, and show that the masonry of the
parallel and transverse walls was articulated, that the partition
walls were continuous from front to rear, and that the walls of the
several stories rested upon each other. All this is seen by a bare
inspection of the walls as they now stand.

The masonry itself is the chief matter of interest in these
structures. Every room in the main building was faced with stone on
the four sides, having an adobe floor and a wooden ceiling. Each
room had, as far as walls now remain to show, two doorways through
the walls parallel with the court, and four openings about twelve
inches square, two on the side of each doorway, near the ceiling.
These openings were for light and ventilation. In a limited sense it
may be said that the stones were dressed, and also that they were
laid in courses, but, in the high and strict meaning of these terms,
neither is true. The stones used were small and of different sizes.
Sometimes they were nearly square, from six to eight inches on a side;
sometimes a foot long by six inches wide. The latter is the size of
the stones used at Uxmal and Chichen Itza, according to Norman. In
some cases longer and thicker stones were used without any attempt
to square the ends. In some instances thin pieces of stone were
employed with parallel faces. In all cases the stone was a sandstone,
now of a reddish brown color. It is the prevailing stone in the
bluffs of the Animas River, and of all the rivers parallel with it
running into the San Juan, as far as personal observation enabled me
to judge. It is a soft rather than a hard stone, usually of a buff
color when first quarried, and some of it has decayed in the using.
The wasted and weatherworn appearance of some of these stones would
otherwise indicate a very great age for the structure. With stone of
the size used a good face can be formed by simple fracture, and a
joint sufficiently close may be made by a few strokes with a stone
maul. If finer work was aimed at, it must have been accomplished by
rubbing the stones to a face. But this work is sufficiently
explained by the former processes. In the row of apartments and
stories named, both faces of each wall were of stone, so that all of
the apartments were of stone on the inside. They were fair walls,
both in masonry and workmanship, and creditable to the builders.
There was an attempt to lay up these walls in courses of uniform
thickness, but each course differing from the one above and below it.
The attempt was only partially successful. They did not hesitate to
break in upon the regularity of the courses. Some of the standing
walls are now sprung; but most of them are straight, and fairly
vertical, the adobe mortar being sound and the bond unbroken.

The Indian had a string from time immemorial. With it he could
strike a circle, and lay out the four sides of a quadrangular
structure with tolerable correctness. It is not too much to assume
that with a string and sinker attached the Village Indian had the
plumb-line, and could prove his wall as well as we can. At all events,
the eye still proves the general correctness of their work.

The adobe mortar of the Pueblo Indians is something more than mud
mortar, although far below a mortar of lime and sand. Adobe is a
kind of finely pulverized clay with a bond of considerable strength
by mechanical cohesion. In Southern Colorado, in Arizona, and New
Mexico, there are immense tracts covered with what is called adobe
soil. It varies somewhat in the degree of its excellence. The kind
of which they make their pottery has the largest per cent of alumina,
and its presence is indicated by the salt weed which grows in this
particular soil. This kind also makes the best adobe mortar. The
Indians use it freely in laying their walls, as freely as our masons
use lime mortar; and although it never acquires the hardness of
cement, it disintegrates slowly. The mortar in these walls is still
sound, so that it requires some effort of strength to loosen a stone
from the wall and remove it. But this adobe mortar is adapted only
to the dry climate of Southern Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico,
where the precipitation is less than five inches per annum. The
rains and frosts of a northern climate would speedily destroy it. To
the presence of this adobe soil, found in such abundance in the
regions named, and to the sandstone of the bluffs, where masses are
often found in fragments, we must attribute the great progress made
by these Indians in house-building.

The exclusive presence of this adobe mortar in all New Mexican
structures of the aboriginal period shows that the tribes of New
Mexico were then ignorant of a mortar of lime and sand. And here a
digression may be allowed to consider whether a cement of this grade
was known to the aborigines. Theoretically, the use of a mortar
composed of quick-lime and sand, which gives a cement chemically
united, would not be expected of the Indian tribes either in North
or South America. There is no sufficient proof that they ever
produced a cement of this high grade. It requires a kiln,
artificially constructed, and a concentrated heat to burn limestone
into lime, supposing they had learned that lime could be thus
obtained, and some knowledge of the properties of quick-lime before
they reached the idea of a true cement. The Spanish writers
generally speak of walls of lime and stone, thus implying a mortar
of lime and sand. Thus, Bernal Diaz speaks of the great temple in
the Pueblo of Mexico as surrounded "with double enclosures built of
stone and lime."

[Footnote: The True History of the Conquest of Mexico, Keatinge's
Translation, Salem ed., 1803, vol. i, p. 208.] Clavigero remarks
that "the houses of lords and people of circumstances were built of
stone and lime." [Footnote: History of Mexico, Cullen's Trans., Phila.
ed., 1817, vol. ii, p. 232.]

Again, "the ignorant Mr. De Pauw denies that the Mexicans had either
the knowledge or made use of lime; but it is evident from the
testimony of all the historians of Mexico, by tribute rolls, and
above all from the ancient buildings still remaining, that all these
nations made the same use of lime as all the Europeans do." [Footnote:
ib., vol. ii, p. 237.]

In like manner, Herrera, speaking of Zempoala, near Vera Cruz,
remarks that the Spaniards, entering the town, found "the houses
[were] built of lime and stone;" [Footnote: History of America,
Stevens' Trans., London ed., 1725, vol ii, p. 266.] and again,
speaking of the houses in Yucatan, he remarks that "at the place
where the encounter happened, there were three houses built of lime
and stone." [Footnote: ib., p. 112.]

These several statements can hardly be said to prove the fact of the
use of a mortar of lime and sand. Mr. John L. Stephens, in speaking
of the ruins at Palenque, is more explicit: "The building was
constructed of stone, with a mortar of lime and sand, and the whole
front was covered with stucco, and painted." [Footnote: Central
America, Chiapas and Yucatan, vol. ii, p. 310.]

The back wall of the governor's house at Uxmal is nine feet thick
through its length of two hundred and seventy feet. In this wall, by
means of crowbars, "the Indians made a hole six and seven feet deep,
but throughout the wall was solid and consisted of large stones
imbedded in mortar, almost as hard as rock." [Footnote: ib., vol. i,
p. 178.]

At the ruins of Zayi, there was one row of ten apartments, two
hundred and twenty feet long, called the Casas Cerrada, or closed
house, because the core over which the triangular ceiling was
constructed had not been removed when the house was abandoned, of
which Stephens says, "We found ourselves in apartments finished with
the walls and ceilings like the others, but filled up (except so far
as they had been emptied by the Indians) with solid masses of mortar
and stones." [Footnote: Central American, Chiapas and Yucatan, vol.
ii, p. 23.]

Norman, speaking of the ruins of the House of the Cacique at Chichen,
remarks, "that the wall is made of large and uniformly square blocks
of limestone set in mortar, which appears to be as durable as the
stone itself." [Footnote: Rambles in Yucatan, p. 120.]

Elsewhere, speaking of the ruins of Yucatan generally, he observes,
"the stones are cut in parallelopipeds of about twelve inches in
length and six in breadth, the interstices filled up of the same
materials of which the terraces are composed." [Footnote: ib. p. 127]

That these tribes used mortar of some kind in their stone walls
cannot be doubted, but these several statements do not prove the use
of quick-lime, which is the main question. Mr. Stephens' statement
satisfied me until I saw the New Mexican pueblos. These show that a
very efficient mortar can be had without the use of lime. The
Indians of Mexico and the coast tribes near Vera Cruz plastered
their houses externally with gypsum, which made them a brilliant
white, and the stucco used upon the inner walls of houses in Chiapas
and Yucatan was not unlikely made of gypsum. This mineral is
abundant as well as easily treated. From it comes plaster of Paris,
and from it may have come in some form the bond which held the
mortar together, to the strength of which Mr. Stephens refers.

The neatness and general correctness of the masonry is now best seen
in the doorways. In the standing walls of the second story, and of
the first, where occasionally uncovered, there are to be seen two
doorways in each room, as before stated, running in all cases across
the building from the court side toward the external wall, and never
in the direction of its length. These doorways measured some three
feet two inches in height by two feet six inches in width, and
others three feet four inches by two feet seven inches.

The stone used in these doorways are rather smaller than those in
other parts of the wall, but prepared in the same manner.

I brought away two of these stones, taken from the standing walls of
the main building, as samples of the character of the work with
respect to size and dressing. Fig. 41 represents one of them,
engraved from a photograph. It measures eight inches in its greatest
length by six inches in its greatest width, and it is two and
three-quarter inches in thickness.

[Illustration: Fig. 41.--Stone from doorway.]

The upper and lower faces of the stone are substantially but not
exactly, parallel. It also shows one angle, which is substantially,
but not exactly a right angle and it was so adjusted that the long
edge was on the doorway and short one in the wall of a chamber or
apartment, with the right angle at the corner between them. This
stone was evidently prepared by fracture, probably with a stone maul,
and the regularity of the breakage was doubtless partly due to skill
and partly to accident. It shows no marks of the chisel or the drove,
or of having been rubbed, and where the square is applied to the
sides or angles the rudeness of the stone is perfectly apparent.

Fig. 41a represents a sandstone cut by American skilled workmen in
the form of a brick, and it is intended to show by comparison the
great difference between the dressed stone of the civilized man and
the ruder stone of the mason in the condition of barbarism. The
comparison shows that no instruments of exactness were used in the
stone work of the pueblo, and that exactness was not attempted. But
the accuracy of a practiced eye and hand, such as their methods
afforded, was reached, and this was all they attempted. With stones
as rude as that shown in the figure, a fair and even respectable
stone wall may be laid. The art of architecture in stone is of slow
and difficult growth. Stone prepared by fracture with a stone hammer
precedes dressed stone, which requires metallic implements. In like
manner mud mortar or adobe mortar precedes a mortar of lime and sand.
The Village Indians of America were working their way experimentally,
and step by step, in the art of house-building, as all mankind have
been obliged to do, each race for itself; and the structures the
Village Indians have raised in various parts of America, imperfect
as they are by contrast, are highly creditable to their intelligence.

Stone lintels were not used for these doorways, as stones three feet
long would have been required. No stones of half that length are to
be seen in any of the walls. They had, however, the idea of a stone
lintel, for they used them in this structure over the foot-square
openings for light and air. We found a stone lintel over an opening
eighteen inches wide in a cliff house on the Mancos River. This was
so firmly imbedded that we found its removal impossible. They used
for a lintel six round cedar cross-pieces, Fig. 42, each about four
inches in diameter and now perfectly sound.

[Illustration: Fig. 42.--Section of Cedar Lintel.]

In some of these doorways we noticed a peculiar feature. On the side
toward the external wall, one and sometimes two of these wooden
lintels were placed, four and sometimes six inches lower than the
remainder, so that on entering from the outside room into the second
room, the top of the doorway rose higher as the room was entered. A
necessity was experienced to save the head from bumps, and the
wonder is that it did not occur to them to raise the doorways to the
height of the body. As the doorways were always open, no doors being
used, it may well be that larger openings would have created
stronger currents of air through the building than they wished. The
ends of these lintels were hacked off by stone implements of some

The peculiar arrangement of the doorways tends to show that this
great house was divided into sections by the partition walls
extending from the court to the exterior wall; and that the rooms
above were connected with those below by means of trap-doors and
ladders. If this supposition be well founded, the five rooms on the
ground floor; from the court back; communicated with each other by
doorways. The four in the second story communicated with each other
in the same manner, and with those below through trap-doors in the
floors. The three rooms in the third story communicated with each
other by doorways, and with those below as before. The same would be
true of the two rooms of the fourth story. It seems probable that
the connected rooms were occupied by a group of related families.

We afterwards found the same thing nearly exemplified in the present
occupied Pueblo of Taos, in New Mexico. We found that the families
lived in the second and upper stories, and used the rooms below them
for storage and for granaries. Each family had two, four, and six
rooms, and those who held the upper rooms held those below.

In the south wing before mentioned, several rooms on the ground
floor are still perfect, with the ceilings in place upholding the
rubbish above. The openings or trap-doorways of two of these rooms
are still perfect, but the ladders are gone. The rooms had been
opened, us elsewhere stated, by late explorers. One of these
trap-doors measured sixteen by seventeen inches, and the other
sixteen inches square. Each was formed in the floor by pieces of
wood put together. The work was neatly done. These rooms were
smaller than the rooms above. Some were as narrow as four feet six
inches, others six feet, showing that one room had been divided into
two. The basement rooms were probably occupied for storage
exclusively, whence their division. They were dark, except as light
entered through the trap-doorway from above.

The structure connecting the wings and bounding the court was
evidently a single or double row of apartments. This is shown by the
amount of fallen material, which is larger than a wall would require,
and from pits or depressions which plainly marked the outline of

There are two circular estufas in the main building, one
twenty-three feet and the other twenty-eight feet in diameter. A
part of the wall of the first estufa is still standing. It is of
stone, mostly of blocks about five inches square, and laid in courses,
with considerable regularity. The work is equal to the best masonry
in the edifice. In the open court, and near the outer structure,
bounding it in front, is another estufa of great size, sixty-three
and a half feet in diameter. These estufas, which are used as places
of council, and for the performance of their religious rites, are
still found at all the present occupied pueblos in New Mexico. There
are six at Taos, three at each house, and they are partly sunk in
the ground by an excavation. They are entered through a trap-doorway
in the roof, the descent being by a ladder.

Outside the front wall closing the court, and about thirty feet
distance therefrom, are the remains of a low wall crossing the
entire front and extending beyond it. The end structures were about
sixty-five feet long by forty feet wide, while at the center was a
smaller structure, fifty-four feet long by eighteen wide. All its
parts were connected. It was evidently erected for defensive purposes;
but it is impossible to make out its character from the remains. One
wing is several feet longer than the other, and the wall on the
court side is about twenty feet longer than the opposite exterior
wall, thus showing that they used no exact measurements.

There were no fire-places with chimneys in this structure. There are
none in the ruins in Yucatan and Central America. It is a fair
inference, therefore, that chimneys were entirely unknown to the
aborigines at the time of their discovery. They have since that time
been adopted into the old pueblo houses from American or Spanish
sources. They are placed in one corner of the room. We saw recently
at Taos two chimneys and two fire-places in one and the same room,
one for cooking and the other for a fire to warm the room; proof
conclusive that they were not to the chimney born. They were in an
apartment of one of the principal chiefs.

In a number of rooms are recesses like niches left in the wall,
about two feet six inches wide and high, and about eighteen inches
deep. These furnished places to set household articles in, in the
place of a mantel or shelf. We afterwards saw niches precisely
similar at Taos, and thus used.

It remains to consider the number of rooms or apartments contained
in this great edifice. It is plain that it was built in the terraced
form, the second story set back from the first, the third from the
second, and so on to the last, which was a single row of apartments,
on the top somewhere, but not necessarily on the back side. Pueblos
were not entirely uniform in this respect The edifice at Taos
recedes in front and rear and even upon the sides. This may have
been built in the same way, but it can neither be proved nor
disproved from the ruins. The number of apartments would not vary
much whether the upper stories were symmetrically or irregularly
formed. If symmetrical, the main building contained two hundred and
sixty apartments, and each wing seventy, making the computation for
the latter by area and from the number of depression still
discernible, thus making an aggregate of four hundred rooms.

The house was a fortress, proving the insecurity in which the people
lived. It was also a joint tenement house of the aboriginal American
model, indicating a plan of life not well understood. It may
indicate an ancient communism in living, practiced by large
households formed on the principle of kin. In such a case the
communism was limited to the household as a part of a kinship.

Those familiar with the remains of Indian Pueblos in ruins will
recognize at once the resemblance between this pueblo and the stone
pueblos in ruins on the Rio Chaco, in New Mexico, about sixty miles
distant from these ruins, particularly the one called Hungo Pavie,
so fully described by General J. H. Simpson. There is one particular
in which the masonry agrees, viz., in the use of courses of thin
stones, about half an inch in thickness, sometimes three together,
and sometimes five and six. These courses are carried along the wall
from one side to the other, but often broken in upon. The effect is
quite pretty. These stones measure six inches in length by one-half
an inch in thickness. General Simpson found the same courses of thin
stones, and even thinner, in the Chaco ruins, and comments upon the
pleasing effect they produced.

This edifice was a credit to the skill and industry of the men among
the Village Indians; for the men, and not the women, were the
architects and the masons, although the women undoubtedly assisted
in doing the work. Women brought stone and adobe and cedar, and made
adobe mortar, without a doubt, as they still do. One of the hopeful
features in their advancement was the beginning of the reversal of
the old usage which put all labor upon the women. It is now the rule
among the Village Indians for the men to assume the heavy work,
which was doubtless the case when this pueblo was constructed. They
cultivated maize, beans, and squashes, in garden beds, and irrigated
them with water drawn from the river by means of a canal, and passed
in several smaller streams through their gardens. The men now engage
in the work of cultivation. This is a sure sign of progress.

Off the south wing of the building, and without it, are the remains
of an additional building, large enough for twenty or thirty rooms
on the ground, some part of which were, doubtless, carried up two or
more stories high; but it is a mass of indistinct ruins, about which
little can be said except that some of the rooms were unusually large.
This may have been the first building constructed, and the one
occupied while the stone pueblo was being built.

[Illustration: Fig. 43.--Outline of a Stone Pueblo on Animus River.]

This outline plan is submitted with some hesitation, because the
sketch from which it is taken was made in haste, and with no
expectation of using it. It is but an approximation. Near the pueblo
last described, and about five hundred feet northeasterly therefrom,
is another pueblo in two sections, Fig. 43, with a space about
fifteen feet wide between them. They may have been, and probably were,
connected and inhabited as one structure. Some of the walls are
still standing, and a number of the rooms in the ground story are
well preserved, the ceilings still remaining in place. Although the
structure is chiefly of stone like the last, some of the walls are
of cobblestone and adobe mortar. The largest section seems to have
had an open court in the center in the form of a parallelogram. This
feature increased the difficulty of understanding the original form
of the house and the arrangement of the rooms. The walls of the first,
of parts of the second, and occasionally of parts of the third story,
are still standing in places. Many of the rooms are small, as the
measurements of the following rooms in the second story of the
smallest building of the two will show:

3 feet 4 inches by 6 feet 6 inches, 4 feet by 8 feet 4 inches, 4 feet
7 inches by 14 feet 2 inches, 6 feet 5 inches by 14 feet 9 inches,
7 feet 3 inches by 16 feet 9 inches, 6 feet 4 inches by 11 feet 7
inches, 7 feet 3 inches by 7 feet 5 inches, 8 feet 7 inches by 15
feet. Height of rooms, 8 feet. The rooms were faced with stone laid
up in the main in courses. They were small, from four to eight
inches square, and the walls from two to three feet in thickness.
Adobe mortar was used abundantly in the inner part of the wall, but
not showing on the face at the joints, the stones being laid
together as closely as the natural surfaces of the stone would permit,
and without mortar near the edge. This feature was also
characteristic of the walls of the pueblo first described.

Mr. Bandelier made to me recently the important suggestion that as
far as any progress or improvement in this architecture, in style or
character, can be discerned, it seems to have been from smaller to
larger rooms, followed by a reduction of the size of the house in
ground dimensions. The last is more particularly illustrated by the
houses in Yucatan, where single rooms are found, in rare cases,
sixty feet long, but where the size of the house in ground
dimensions is much smaller than of those in New Mexico. It was in
consequence of an examination of some very old pueblo ruins in New
Mexico, east of the Rio Grande, near Santo Domingo. There the pueblo
was more like a cluster of cells than of rooms, as many of them were
but four or five feet square, contrasting strongly with the present
inhabited pueblos. The same fact may be seen at Taos. It was
mentioned (p. 144) that the Taos Indians many years ago conquered
and dispossessed the former occupants of a pueblo at this place,
and that some remains of the old pueblo were still standing. In
1878 I visited one of the ground-rooms in the old structure still
standing, and entirely alone. It was about five feet by six in
ground-dimensions, and was then occupied by a solitary Taos Indian,
a sort of hermit, as his place of residence. A bunk across one side
furnished him both a bed and a seat, and the remaining room was
scarcely sufficient to turn around in, but it gave him all the home
he had, and, doubtless, all the room he needed. Another room, a few
feet distant, also a part of the old pueblo, was still standing.
These rooms were of adobe, and were about six feet high. As the
Indian gained in experience and knowledge in the use and
construction of the joint-tenement houses, improvements would
gradually manifest themselves. It is important to find and trace
this progress, as we have every reason to believe that it is one
system of architecture throughout North America at least, with a
connection of all its forms.

Along the curving or westerly side of the first building, and along
the northerly side, there are cedar beams projecting about four feet
from the wall in the second story on the line of the ceiling. They
are about four inches in diameter. Their object is not apparent.

In one of the basement rooms of the second building are a series of
pictographs upon a plastered wall. Our limited time would not permit
a sketch.

Midway between the pueblo, Fig. 40, and the one now being considered
is a circular ruin three hundred and thirty feet in circuit, which
seems to have consisted of two concentric rows of apartments around
an inclosed estufa. It was built of cobblestone and adobe mortar.
Pit-holes indicate the form and plan of the inclosing rooms, but the
ruin is too indistinct to form a clear idea of its structure. A
removal of the loose material would probably disclose the original
ground plan.

A few hundred feet north are the ruins of four other structures of
cobblestone and adobe quite near each other. They were, without doubt,
pueblo houses, but they are now a mass of undistinguishable ruins,
and, from present appearance, were probably ruins, when the stone
pueblos were inhabited. The river here runs nearer the western
border of the valley than the eastern, and quite near the pueblo
last noticed, but from this point it bears toward the east side of
the valley.

About a mile in a direction a little south of east and near the
river are the ruins of two other large pueblos, of which the lower
one is one thousand and forty feet in circuit, and the one above
four hundred and fifty-two feet. Both are built of sandstone and
cobblestone and adobe mortar. No part of the walls are standing
above the rubbish; but they were apparently contemporary with the
stone pueblos. The first stands upon the brink of the river, which
is now cutting away its foundations, thus proving that it was
insecurely located. The mass of fallen material is very great,
showing an apparent depth of at least fifteen feet. Some of the
basement rooms in each of these pueblos are probably still entire,
judging from the great mass of material over them. Great pit-holes
indicate the position of chambers and inclosing-walls. The largest
of the two pueblos is 300 feet in depth. In one place, where some
excavation has been done, the corner of a basement room is in sight.
All these ruins ought to be re-examined, and so far excavated as to
recover complete ground plans.

Near the mouth of the river are said to be still other ruins, and
still others on the east side of the river, which we had no time to

The valley of the Animas River is here broad and beautiful, about
three miles wide. The river passes nearly through the center of the
valley. The cliff, on the east side of the level plain, is bold and
mountainous, rising from fifteen hundred to two thousand feet high,
while on the west side the valley is bordered with the mesa
formation in two benches, one rising back of the other, and both as
level as a floor, with the highlands forming the divide between the
Animas and La Plata Rivers in the distance.

From the number and size of the houses, there was probably a
population of at least five thousand persons at this settlement,
living by horticulture. It is not now known by what tribe of Indians
these pueblos were inhabited or constructed.

These pueblos, newly constructed and in their best condition, must
have presented a commanding appearance. From the materials used in
their construction, from their palatial size and unique design, and
from the cultivated gardens by which they were doubtless surrounded,
they were calculated to impress the beholder very favorably with the
degree of culture to which the people had attained. It is a singular
fact that none of the occupied pueblos in New Mexico at the present
time are equal in materials or in construction with those found in
ruins. It tends to show a decadence of art among them since the
period of European discovery.

Westward of the Animas, the La Plata, and the Mancos Rivers, which
run southwesterly into the San Juan, is the Montezuma Valley, a
broad and level plain, so named by General Heffernan, of Animas City.
It is about fifty miles in length, and apparently ten miles wide at
the ranch of Mr. Henry L. Mitchell, which is situated at the
commencement of the McElmo Canyon.

[Illustration: Fig. 44.--Pueblos at commencement of McElmo Canyon.]

It stretches southward thirty-six miles to the San Juan. In this
valley, which has no flowing stream through it at present (and there
is no certainty that it ever had), and which is without water,
except in springs and pools, and has but a slight rainfall during
the year, Mr. Mitchell was successfully cultivating, at the time of
our visit, wheat, oats, maize, and the garden vegetables. The valley
is uninhabited, except by the family of Mr. Mitchell, and a solitary
man living four miles westward. Their nearest neighbors are on the
Mancos River, twenty-five miles distant. The bluffs bordering the
eastern side of the valley rise boldly about fifteen hundred feet,
with table lands above, while on the west the valley is bordered
with mountains. About ten miles southwest of Mr. Mitchell's ranch
the Ute Mountain rises out of the plain, and from this point appears
as a solitary and detached mountain. The McElmo Canyon passes along
its north and westerly sides, while the main valley passes southward
along its eastern base. This high and noble mountain is situated in
the southwest corner of Colorado, near the intersection of the
boundary lines of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. It is a
conspicuous object from the La Plata Valley. The Montezuma Valley
possesses features of remarkable natural beauty.

Near Mr. Mitchell's ranch, and within a space of less than a mile
square are the ruins of nine pueblo houses of moderate size. They
are built of sandstone intermixed with cobblestone and adobe mortar.
They are now in a very ruinous condition, without standing walls in
any part of them above the rubbish. The largest of the number is
marked No. 1 in the plan Fig. 44, of which the outline of the
original structure is still discernible. It is ninety-four feet in
length and forty-seven feet in depth, and shows the remains of a
stone wall in front inclosing a small court about fifteen feet wide.
The mass of material over some parts of this structure is ten or
twelve feet deep. There are, no doubt, rooms with a portion of the
walls still standing covered with rubbish, the removal of which
would reveal a considerable portion of the original ground-plan.

A short distance below the pueblos last named is another cluster of
the same number of pueblos, and much in the same condition; and upon
rising ground near the foot of the bluff, on the east side of the
valley, there are, as Mr. Mitchell informed me, the ruins of several
pueblos of stone. He also informed me that similar ruins were to be
found here and there in the valley to the San Juan. Four miles
westerly, near the ranch of Mr. Shirt, are the ruins of another
large stone pueblo, together with an Indian cemetery, where each
grave is marked by a border of flat stones set level with the ground
in the form of a parallelogram eight feet by four feet. Near the
cluster of nine pueblos shown in the figure are found strewn on the
ground numerous fragments of pottery of high grade in the
ornamentation, and small arrow-heads of flint, quartz, and
chalcedony delicately formed, and small knife-blades with convex and
serrated edges in considerable numbers.

[Illustration: Fig. 45.--Outline plan of a stone pueblo near the
base of Ute Mountain.]

This is an immense ruin with small portions of the walls still
standing, particularly of the round tower of stone of three
concentric walls, incorporated in the structure, and a few chambers
in the north end of the main building. The round tower is still
standing nearly to the height of the first story. In its present
condition it was impossible to make a ground-plan showing the
several chambers, or to determine with certainty which side was the
front of the structure, assuming that it was constructed in the
terraced form. It is situated upon a vertical bluff of yellowish
sandstone rock about twenty feet high and about four miles below
Mr. Mitchell's ranch in the direction of the Ute Mountain and near
its northeastern base. The bluff is broken through to the bottom in
one place about twenty feet wide. Here there are some evidences that
a spring of water was inclosed in a reservoir by means of masonry.
The building is in two sections, separated by this break, of which
the main one is five hundred and ten feet long, and the smallest one
hundred and twenty feet, forming a nearly continuous front. They
stand back ten or fifteen feet from the verge of the bluff, and are
built of tabular pieces of sandstone and adobe mortar. Numerous
pit-holes in each structure indicate the chambers and the line of
the inclosing walls. The removal of the loose material would
doubtless disclose the ground-plan, but it would involve immense
labor. With the Ute Mountain rising majestically in the background,
and the broad valley in front, the situation of the pueblo is
remarkably fine.

The Round Tower is the most singular feature in this structure.
While it resembles the ordinary estufa, common to all these
structures, it differs from them in having three concentric walls.
No doorways are visible in the portion still standing, consequently
it must have been entered through the roof, in which respect it
agrees with the ordinary estufa. The inner chamber is about twenty
feet in diameter, and the spaces between the encircling walls are
about two feet each; the walls are about two feet in thickness, and
were laid up mainly with stones about four inches square, and, for
the most part, in courses. There is a similar round tower, having
but two concentric walls, at the head of the McElmo Canyon, and near
the ranch of Mr. Mitchell. It is shown in Fig. 44, and stands
entirely isolated. The diameter of the tower is thirty-four feet, of
which the inner chamber is twenty-three feet; the space between the
two walls is about six feet, and the thickness of the walls about
two feet six inches. It is laid up in the same manner as the one
last named, with stones about the same size, and the walls still
standing are about five feet in height. Partition walls divide the
outer space, one of which measured twenty inches in thickness.

Several hundred feet from the pueblo last named, further down the
valley, is another pueblo of large extent, and in a very ruined

A mile or more below the ranch of Mr. Mitchell, in the bordering
walls of the McElmo Canyon, are two cliff houses. The walls of the
bluff are here about twenty feet high, with large cavities formed in
them here and there. These houses, each of which consists of but two
or three small chambers, are built of stone, and stand but a few
feet above the bottom of the canyon. They are narrow, and not very
high, as the cavity in the rock is not very deep. Corrals for some
kind of domestic animals are found by the side of these houses in
the same hollows in the rock. This is proved by a mass of excrement,
about a foot in depth, still there, whether of the goat or sheep
cannot be stated, but this fact shows that they were inhabited
subsequent to the period of European discovery, although they may
have been built and used before. The canyon, at this point, is from
three hundred to five hundred feet wide.

I wish to call attention again to the San Juan district, to its
numerous ruins, and to its importance as an early seat of Village
Indian life. These ruins and those of a similar character in the
valley of the Chaco, together with numerous remains of structures of
sandstone, of cobblestone, and adobe in the San Juan Valley, in the
Pine River Valley, in the La Plata Valley, in the Animas River Valley,
in the Montezuma Valley, on the Hovenweep, and on the Rio Dolores,
suggest the probability that the remarkable area within the drainage
of the San Juan River and its tributaries has held a prominent place
in the first and most ancient development of Village Indian life in
America. The evidence of Indian occupation and cultivation
throughout the greater part of this area is sufficient to suggest
the hypothesis that the Indian here first attained to the condition
of the Middle Status of barbarism, and sent forth the migrating
bands who carried this advanced culture to the Mississippi Valley,
to Mexico, and Central America, and not unlikely to South America as

Indian migrations are gradual outflows from an overstocked area,
followed by organization into independent tribes, and continuing
through centuries of time, until the ethnic life of each tribe is
expended, or a successful establishment is finally gained in a new
and perhaps far distant land. They planted gardens and constructed
houses as they advanced from district to district, and removed as
circumstances prompted a change of location.

Since the cultivation of maize and plants precedes or is synchronous
with this stage of development, it leads to the supposition that
maize must have been indigenous in this region, and that it was here
first brought under cultivation. There are some facts that seem to
favor this hypothesis.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote relocated to chapter end.]

At present I wish to call attention to such existing evidence as
points to the San Juan district as the anterior home of a number of
historic Indian tribes.

1. The Mound-Builders. Although these tribes had disappeared at the
epoch of European discovery, and cannot be classed with any known
Indian stock, their condition as horticultural tribes, their
knowledge of some of the native metals, and the high character of
their stone implements and pottery place them in the clans of
Village Indians. The nearest region from which they could have been
derived is New Mexico. There is no reason for referring them to the
San Juan region more than to the nearer country of the Rio Grande,
unless it should appear probable that the inhabitants of the latter
valley were themselves migrants from the same region. But there are
good reasons for deriving the Mound-Builders from the Village
Indians in some part of New Mexico.

2. The Mexican Tribes. The seven principal tribes of Mexico, called
collectively the Nahuatlacs, spoke dialects of the same language,
and all alike had a tradition that their ancestors came from the
north, and that the separate tribes came into Mexico at long
intervals apart. They arrived in the following order as to time: 1,
Sochomilcos; 2, Chalcas; 3, Tepanecans; 4, Tescucans; 5, Tlatluicans;
6, Tlascalans; 7, Aztecs or Mexicans. They settled in different
parts of Mexico. The Cholulans, Tepeacas, and Huexatsincos spoke
dialects of the Nahuatlac language, and were severally subdivisions
of one or the other preceding tribes. They had the same tradition of
a northern origin. These several tribes were among the most
prominent in Mexico at the period of Spanish discovery. Some of the
tribes of Yucatan and Central America also had similar traditions of
an original migration of their ancestors from the north.

Acosta, who visited Mexico in 1585, and whose work was published at
Seville in 1589, states the order of the migration of the Mexican
tribes as above given, and further says that they "come from other
far countries which lie toward the north, where now they have
discovered a kingdom they call New Mexico. There are two provinces
in this country, the one called Aztlan, which is to say, a place of
Herons [Cranes], and the other Teculhuacan, which signifies a land
of such whose grandfathers were divine. The Navatalcas [Nahuatlacs]
point their beginning and first territory in the figure of a cave,
and say they came forth of seven caves to come and people the land
of Mexico." [Footnote: The Natural and Moral History of the East and
West Indies, London ed., 1604, Grimstone's Trans., pp. 497, 504.]
The same tradition substantially, is given by Herrera, [Footnote:
General History of America, London ed., 1725, Stevens's Trans. III,
188.] and also by Clavigero.

[Footnote: History of Mexico, Cullen's Trans., 1, 119.]

If by the word Aztlan was intended "place of Cranes", and on the
supposition that these tribes migrated from the San Juan region, the
reasons for the designation are justified. The Sandhill Crane
(Grus Canadensis) is one of the largest and most conspicuous of
American birds, and is still found from the British Possessions to
New Mexico, and winters in the latter. I saw a pair of these great
birds in 1878, in the valley of the Animas River. Dr. Cones remarks
that "thousands of Sandhill Cranes repair each year to the Colorado
River Valley, flock succeeding flock along the course of the great
stream from their arrival in September until their departure the
following spring. Taller than the Wood Ibises or the largest Herons
with which they are associated, the stately birds stand in the
foreground of the scenery of the valley.... Such ponderous bodies
moving with slowly-beating wings give a great idea of momentum from
mere weight, a force of motion without swiftness; for they plod
along heavily, seeming to need every inch of their ample wings to
sustain themselves." [Footnote: Birds of the Northwest, 1874, p. 534.]

It is an Indian trait to mark localities by some conspicuous feature
or fact, and the selection of the Sandhill Crane to indicate their
home country would have accorded with Indian usages.

Again, Herrera, who presents the current traditions, observes, that
"these peoples painted their original in the manner of a cave, and
said they came out of seven caves to people the country of Mexico....
After the six above mentioned races departed from their country, and
settled in New Spain, where they were much increased, the seventh
race being the Mexican nation, a warlike and polite people, who
adoring their god Vitsilpuztli, he commanded them to leave their own
country, promising them they should rule over other races in a
plentiful country, and much wealth." [Footnote: History of America,
iii, p. 188, 190.]

It is worthy of remark that the cave dwellings or cliff houses are
in the San Juan district, the most of them being on the Mancos River,
and on the western portion of the San Juan. These traditions may in
fact refer to these cave dwellings as the original homes of their
ancestors, and at the same time without precluding the supposition
that they also constructed and inhabited some of the pueblo
structures now in ruins in other parts of the same area. All the
early accounts concur in representing the Aztecs or Mexicans, when
they first arrived in Mexico, as subsisting by the cultivation of
maize and plants, as constructing houses of stone, and with a
religious system which recognized personal gods. These statements
are probably true. They had attained to the statue of Village Indians.
This again renders New Mexico their probable original home as the
only area in the north where ruins of structures of tribes so far
advanced have been found.

The San Juan district is remarkably situated in its geographical
relations. This river, rising in the crests of the high mountains
forming the water-shed or divide between the Atlantic and Pacific,
flows southward until it enters the table-land formation, through
which it flows in a southwesterly and then northwesterly direction,
making a long, sweeping curve in New Mexico and Arizona, after which
it runs westerly to its confluence with the Colorado. It receives
from the north the following tributaries, rising like itself in the
high mountains, the Piedra, Pine River (Los Pinos), the Animas, the
La Plata, the Mancos, the McElmo, now dry, and the Hovenweep and
Montezuma creeks, now nearly dry. Its southern tributaries are the
Navajo, Chaco, and De Chelly.

With such evidences of ancient occupation, here and elsewhere in the
San Juan country, we are led to the conclusion that the Village
Indians increased and multiplied in this area, and that at some
early period there was here a remarkable display of this form of
Indian life, and of house architecture in the nature of fortresses,
which must have made itself felt in distant parts of the continent.
On the hypothesis that the valley of the Columbia was the seed-land
of the Ganowanian family, where they depended chiefly upon a fish
subsistence, we have in the San Juan country a second center and
initial point of migrations founded upon farinaceous subsistence.
That the struggle of the Village Indians to resist the ever
continuous streams of migration flowing southward along the mountain
chains has been a hard one through many centuries of time, is proved
by the many ruins of abandoned or conquered pueblos which still mark
their settlements in so many places. At the present moment there is
not a Village Indian in the San Juan district. It is entirely
deserted of this class of inhabitants.

That the original ancestors of the principal historic tribes of
Mexico once inhabited the San Juan country is extremely probable.
That the ancestors of the principal tribes of Yucatan and Central
America owe their remote origin to the same region is equally
probable. And that the Mound Builders came originally from the same
country, is, with our present knowledge, at least a reasonable

Indian migrations have occurred under the influence, almost
exclusively, of physical causes, operating in a uniform manner.
These migrations, involving the entire period of the existence here
of the inhabitants of both American continents, will be found to
have a common and connected history. A study of all the facts may
yet lead to an elucidation and explanation of these migrations with
some degree of certainty. The hypothesis that the valley of the
Columbia River was the seed-land of the Ganowanian family holds the
best chance of solving the great problem of the origin and
distribution of the Indian tribes.

[Relocated Footnote: Where maize was indigenous is unknown, except
that it was somewhere upon the American continent. It is the only
cereal America has given to the world. At the period of European
discovery, it was found cultivated and a staple article of food in a
large part of North America and in parts of South America. There
were also found beans, squashes, and tobacco, with the addition in
some areas of peppers, tomatoes, cocoa and cotton. The problem of
the place of the origin of maize is probably insoluble, but
speculations are legitimate and such are all I have to offer.

The fecundity of plant-life in the Rocky Mountains is remarkable,
particularly on the southern slopes, where they subside into the mesa,
or table-land formation, north of the San Juan River. The
continental divide is in the eastern margin of the region. The first
suggestion I wish to make is that all cereals and cultivated plants
must have originated in the great continental mountains of the two
hemispheres, and have propagated themselves along the water courses
of the mountain valleys down to the plains traversed by the great
rivers formed by these mountain tributaries. All the cereals belong
to the family of the Grasses (Gramineae), and each of them, doubtless,
is the last of a series of antecedent forms.

I saw rye, barley and oats growing wild by self-propagation in the
mountain valleys of Colorado the present season; and also the wild
pea, whose stunted seeds had the taste of the cultivated pea. Turnips,
onions, tomatoes, and hops are found growing wild in the Pine River
Valley, and the pie-plant or rhubarb is said to grow luxuriantly in
the Elk Mountain valleys. I also saw wild flax and the gourd growing
by self-propagation in the valley of the Animas. Currants,
gooseberries, raspberries, and strawberries are found in the
mountain valleys in numerous places, together with flowering plants
of many species and varieties. Tiny forms of flowering plants are to
be seen above patches of snow in places where the snow had recently
melted. This fecundity of plant-life from ten to twelve thousand
feet above sea level, and the relation of these mountain tributaries
to the San Juan, which runs from east to west, not remotely from the
base of these mountains, in such a manner as to invite and receive
into its lap, so to express it, the vegetable wealth developed in
these mountain chains, are facts that force themselves upon the
attention of the observer.

The altitude of the San Juan Valley ranges from seven thousand feet
at Pagosa Springs to five thousand nine hundred and seventy feet at
the mouth of the Animas, and diminishing to four thousand four
hundred and forty-six feet near the point where it empties into the
Colorado (Hayden's Atlas of Colorado, Sheet 111). The altitude at
Conejos is seven thousand eight hundred and eighty feet (ib.,) which
is about as great an elevation as admits of the successful
cultivation of maize. I noticed in a field of maize growing at
Conejos that the stalk grew only about three feet high, and that the
ear grew out of it but six inches from the ground. Specimens of the
ear we obtained showed that it was about five inches long, with the
kernel small and flinty. The ear is in four colors, white, red,
yellow, and black, each being one or the other of these colors. In a
few cases two colors were intermixed in the same ear. It seemed
probable that this the primitive maize of the American aborigines,
from which all other varieties have been developed. A few cobs which
we found at a cliff house on the Mancos River corresponded with the
Conejos ear in size, and were probably the same variety. Afterwards
at Taos I found the same ear in white, red, yellow, and black; the
staple maize now cultivated at this pueblo, but much larger. I
brought away several fine ears saved for seed. One black ear
measured twelve inches in length, with twelve rows of kernels, while
the white variety, both at Conejos and Taos, had each fourteen rows.

Finally, a dry country, neither excessively hot nor moist, like the
San Juan region, would seem to be most favorable for the development
and self-propagation of maize as well as plants until man appeared
for their domestication. These are but speculations, but if they
should prompt further investigations concerning the place of
nativity of this wonderful cereal, which has been such an important
factor in the advancement of the Indian family, and which is also
destined to prove such a support to our own, these suggestions will
have not been made in vain.]



The general view of the house-life and houses of the Indian tribes
thus far presented will tend to strengthen the hypothesis about to
be stated concerning the earth-works of the Mound-Builders. Apart
from the explanation that the long-houses of the Northern Tribes and
the joint-tenement house of the Sedentary Indians are capable of
affording, they are wholly inexplicable. The Mound-Builders worked
native copper, cultivated maize and plants, manufactured pottery and
stone implements of higher grade than the tribes of the Lower Status
of barbarism; and they raised earth-works of great magnitude,
superior to any works of the former tribes. They fairly belong to
the class of Sedentary Village Indians, though not in all respects
of an equal grade of culture and development. Their embankments,
which inclosed a rectangular space, were in all probability, the
foundations upon which they erected their houses. It is proposed to
consider these embankments under this hypothesis.

Under the name of Mound-Builders certain unknown tribes of the
American aborigines are recognized, who formerly inhabited as their
chief area the valley of the Ohio and its tributary streams. Traces
of their occupation have been found in other places, from the Gulf
of Mexico to Lakes Erie and Superior, and from the Alleghanies to
the Mississippi, and in some localities west of this river.

Without entering upon a discussion of these works, this chapter will
be confined to four principal questions:

I. The house-life of the American aborigines, in the usages of which
the Mound-Builders were necessarily involved.

II. The probable center from which the Mound-Builders emigrated into
these areas.

III. The uses for which their principal earth-works were designed,
with a conjectural restoration of one of their pueblos; and,

IV. The probable numbers of the people.

The Mound-Builders have disappeared, or, at least, have fallen out
of human knowledge, leaving these works and their fabrics as the
only evidence of their existence. Consequently the proposed questions,
excepting the first, are incapable of specific answers; but they are
not beyond the reach of approximate solutions. The mystery in which
these tribes are enshrouded, and the unique character of their
earth-works, will lead to deceptive inferences, unless facts and
principles are carefully considered and rigorously applied, and such
deductions only are made as they will fairly warrant. It is easy to
magnify the significance of these remains and to form extravagant
conclusions concerning them; but neither will advance the truth.
They represent a status of human advancement forming a connecting
link in the progressive development of man. If, then, the nature of
their arts, and more especially the character of their institutions,
can be determined with reasonable certainty, the true position of
the Mound-Builders can be assigned to them in the scale of human
progress, and what was possible and what impossible on their part
can be known.


It will be assumed that the tribes who constructed the earth-works
of the Ohio Valley were American Indians. No other supposition is
tenable. The implements and utensils found in the mounds indicate
very plainly that they had attained to the Middle Status of barbarism.
They do not fully answer the tests of this condition, since they
neither cultivated by irrigation, so far as is known, nor
constructed houses of adobe bricks or of stone; but, in addition to
the earth-works to be considered, they mined native copper and
wrought it into implements and utensils--acts performed by none of
the tribes in the Lower Status of barbarism; and they depended
chiefly upon horticulture for subsistence. They had also carried the
art of pottery to the ornamental stage, and manufactured textile
fabrics of cotton or flax, remains of which have been found wrapped
around copper chisels. These facts, with others that will appear,
justify their recognition as in the same status with the Village
Indians of New and Old Mexico and Central America. They occupied
areas free from lakes as a rule, and, therefore, the poorest for a
fish subsistence. This shows of itself that their chief reliance was
upon horticulture. The principal places where their villages were
situated were unoccupied areas at the epoch of European discovery,
because unadapted to tribes in the Loner Status of barbarism, who
depended upon fish and game as well as upon maize and plants.

A knowledge of the general character of the houses of the American
aborigines will enable us to infer what must have been the general
character of those of the Mound-Builders. This, again, was
influenced by the condition of the family. Among the Indian tribes,
in whatever stage of advancement, the family was found in the
pairing form, with separation at the option of either party. It was
founded upon marriage between single pairs, but it fell below the
monogamian family of civilized society. In their condition it was
too weak an organization to face alone the struggle of life, and it
sought shelter in large households, formed on the basis of kin, with
communism in living as an incident of their plan of life. While
exceptional cases of single families living by themselves existed
among all the tribes, it did not break the general rule of large
households, and the practice in them of communism in living. These
usages entered into and determined the character of their house
architecture. In all parts of North and South America, at the period
of European discovery, were found communal of joint-tenement houses,
from those large enough to accommodate five, ten, and twenty families,
to those large enough for fifty, a hundred, and in some cases two
hundred or more, families. These houses differed among themselves in
their plan and structure as well as size; but a common principle ran
through them which was revealed by their adaptation to communistic
uses. They reflect their condition and their plan of life with such
singular distinctness as to afford practical hints concerning the
houses of the Mound-Builders.


It is well known that the highest type of Village Indian life was
found in Yucatan, Chiapas, and Guatemala, and that the standard
declines with the advance of the type northward into Mexico and New
Mexico, thus tending to show that it was best adapted to a warm
climate; but it does not follow that we must look to these distant
regions for the original home of the Mound-Builders. The nearest
point from which they could have been derived was New Mexico, and
that is rendered the probable point from physical considerations,
and still more from their greater nearness in condition to the
Village Indians of New Mexico, below whom they must be ranked. The
migrations of the American Indian tribes were gradual movements
under the operation of physical causes, occupying long periods of
time and with slow progress. There is no reason for supposing, in
any number of cases, that they were deliberate migrations with a
definite destination. With maize, beans, and squashes (the staples
of an established horticulture), the Village Indians were
independent of fish and game as primary means of subsistence, and
with the former they possessed superior resources for migrating over
the wide expanses of open prairies between New Mexico and the
Mississippi. The movement of the tribes who constructed the
earth-works in question can be explained as a natural spread of
Village Indians from the valley of the Rio Grande, on the San Juan,
to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, and thence northward to the
valley of the Ohio, which was both easy and feasible. Its successful
extension for any considerable distance north of the gulf was
rendered improbable, by reason of the increasing severity of the
climate. There are some reasons for supposing that climate delayed
the movement for centuries, and finally defeated the attempt to
transplant permanently even the New Mexican type of village life
into a northern temperature so much lower during the greater part of
the year.

A number of archeologists, who have considered the question of the
probable anterior home of the Mound-Builders, are inclined to derive
them from Central America. The ground for this opinion seems to be
the fact that horticulture must have originated in a semi-tropical
region, where this type of village life was first developed, and,
therefore, that all the forms of this life were derived from thence.
It would be a mistake, as it seems to the writer, to adopt the track
of horticulture as that of Indian migration. In its first spread
horticulture would be more apt to return upon the line of the latter
than wait to be carried, by actual migrations, with the people.
Moreover it is unnecessary to invoke such an argument, for the
reason that New Mexico had been for ages the seat of horticultural
and Village Indians, and was necessarily occupied by them long
before the country east of the Mississippi. Every presumption is in
favor of their derivation from New Mexico as their immediate
anterior home, where they were accustomed to snow and to a moderate
degree of cold.

[Footnote: At a recent meeting of the National Academy of Science at
Washington, where this subject was presented, Prof. O. C. Marsh
remarked, in confirmation of this suggestion, that "in a series of
comparisons of Indian skulls, he had been struck with the similarity
between those of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and of the
Mound-Builders. As the shape of the Mound-Builder's skull is very
peculiar, the coincidence is a very striking one."]


A brief reference to the character and extent of these works is
necessary as a means of understanding their uses. The authors of the
volume "The Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley" remark, in
their preface, that "the ancient inclosures and groups of works
personally examined and surveyed are upwards of one hundred....
About two hundred mounds of all forms and sizes, and occupying every
variety of position, have also been excavated." [Footnote:
Smithsonian Cont. to Knowledge, Preface, XXXIV.] Out of ninety-five
earthworks, exclusive of mounds, figured and described in this
valuable memoir, and which probably mark the sites of Indian villages,
forty-seven are of the same type and may unhesitatingly be assigned
to the Mound-Builders; fourteen are groups of emblematical earthworks,
mostly in Wisconsin, and may also be assigned to them; but the
remaining thirty-four are very inferior as well as different in
character. They are not above the works of the Indians in the Lower
Status of barbarism, and, therefore, do not probably belong to the
Village Indians who constructed the works in the Scioto Valley. If
to those first named are added the emblematical earth-works figured
and described by Lapham, [Footnote: Smithsonian Cont. to Knowledge,
Vol. V.] and a few other works not known to Squier and Davis, and
since described by other persons, there are something more than one
hundred works, large and small, indicating the sites of Indian
villages, of which perhaps three quarters were occupied at the same
time. The conical mounds raised over Indian graves, which are
numerous, are not included. [Footnote: When a calamity befalls an
Indian settlement it is usually abandoned.]

"A large, perhaps the larger portion of these works," observe the
same authors, "are regular in outline, the square and circle
predominating.... The regular works are almost invariably erected on
level river terraces.... The square and the circle often occur in
combination, frequently connecting with each other.... Most of the
circular works are small, varying from two hundred and fifty to
three hundred feet in diameter, while others are a mile or more in
circuit." [Footnote: Smithsonian Cont. to Knowledge, I, pp. 6 and 8.]

These embankments are, for the most part, slight, varying from two
feet to six, eight, ten, and twelve feet in height, with a broad base,
caused by the washing down of the banks in the course of centuries.
These facts are shown by numerous cross-sections furnished with the
ground-plans by the authors. But the circular embankments are
usually about half as high as the rectangular.

Some idea of the size of Indian villages, and of their nearness to
each other, is necessary to form an impression of their plan of life
and mode of settlement. The illustrations should be drawn from the
Village Indians, to which class the Mound-Builders undoubtedly
belonged. Not knowing the use of wells, they established their
settlements on the margins of rivers and small streams, which
afforded alluvial land for cultivation, and often within a few miles
of each other. In the valley of the Rio Chaco, in New Mexico, there
were several pueblos within an extent of twelve miles, each
consisting of a single joint-tenement house, constructed usually
upon three sides of a court; and westward of the Chaco Valley were,
and still are, the seven Moki pueblos, within an extent of
twenty-five miles. At the present time, in the valley of the Rio
Grande, a single pueblo house, accommodating five hundred persons
makes an Indian village. Two or three such houses as at Taos and
Santo Domingo form a large pueblo and a group of several such houses
as at Zunyi a pueblo of the largest size which once contained
perhaps five thousand persons, now reduced to fifteen hundred. There
are no reasons for supposing that any pueblo in Yucatan or Central
America contained as high a number as ten thousand inhabitants at
the period of the Spanish conquest, although these countries were
extremely favorable for an increase of Indian population. Their
villages were numerous and small. Castanyada, who accompanied the
expedition of Coronado to New Mexico in 1540-1542, estimated the
population of the seventy villages visited by detachments and
situated between the Colorado River Zunyi and the Arkansas at twenty
thousand men which would give a total population in this wide area
of a hundred thousand Indians.

There were seven villages each of Cibola, Tusayan, Quivira, and Hemes,
and twelve of Tiguex; it would give an average of about fourteen
hundred and fifty persons to each village. In all probability these
are fair samples as to the number of inhabitants of the villages of
the Mound Builders with exceptional cases as the village on the site
of Marietta in Ohio where there may have been five thousand if an
impression may be formed from the extent of the earth works occupied
in the manner hereafter suggested. Where several villages were found
near each other on the same stream as in New Mexico, the people
usually spoke the same dialect, which tends to show that those in
each group were colonists from one original village. The earth works
of the Mound Builders must be regarded as the sites of their villages.
The question then recurs for what purpose did they raise these
embankments at an expenditure of so much labor? The must have lived
somewhere in upon or around them. No answer has been given to this
question and no serious attempt has been made to explain their uses.
They have been called defensive enclosures but it is not supposable
that they lived in houses within the embankments for this would turn
the places into slaughter pens in case of in attack. Some of them
have been called sacred enclosures but this goes for nothing apart
from some knowledge of their uses. They were constructed for a
practical intelligent purpose and that purpose must be sought in the
needs and mode of life of the Mound-Builders as Village Indians; and
it should be expressed in the works themselves. If a sensible use for
these embankments can be found, its acceptance will relieve us from
the delusive inferences which are certain to be drawn from them so
long as they are allowed to remain in the category of the mysteries.

It is proposed to submit a conjectural explanation of the objects
and uses of the principal embankments, and to advocate its
acceptance on the ground of inherent probability. It will be founded
on the assumption that the Mound-Builders were horticultural Village
Indians who had immigrated from beyond the Mississippi; that as such
they had been accustomed, to live in houses of adobe bricks, like
those found in New Mexico; that they had become habituated to living
upon their roof terraces as elevated platforms, and in large
households; and that their houses were in the nature of fortresses,
in consequence of the insecurity in which they lived. Further than
this, that before they emigrated to the valley of the Ohio they were
accustomed to snow, and to a moderate degree of winter cold; wore
skin garments, and possibly woven mantles of cotton, as the Cibolans
of New Mexico did at the time of Coronado's expedition.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote relocated to chapter end.]

The food of the New Mexicans, at this time, consisted of maize, beans,
and squashes, and a limited amount of game, which was doubtless the
food of the Mound-Builders. Captain Juan Jaramillo, who accompanied
the same expedition, remarks in his relation that the Cibolans
"had hardly provisions enough for themselves; what they had
consisted of maize, beans, and squashes (maiz, des haricots, et des
courges).... The Indians clothe themselves with deer skins, very
well prepared. They have also buffalo-skins tanned, in which they
wrap themselves." [Footnote: Coll. Ternaux-Compans, ix, 369.]

Although several centuries earlier in time, the Mound-Builders, with
habits of life similar to those of the Cibolans, in 1540, would
understand, besides horticulture, the use of adobe bricks, and the
art of constructing long joint-tenement houses, closed up in the
first story for defensive reasons, and built in the terraced form two,
three, and four stories high, the ascent to the roof of the first
story being made by ladders.

If, then, a tribe of Village Indians, with such habits and experience,
emigrated centuries ago in search of new homes, and in course of
time they, or their descendants, reached the Scioto Valley, in Ohio,
they would find it impossible to construct houses of adobe bricks
able to resist the rains and frosts of that climate, even if they
found adobe soil. Some modification of their house architecture
would be forced upon them through climatic reasons. They might have
used stone, if possessed of sufficient skill to quarry it and
construct walls of stone; but they did not produce such houses. Or
they might have fallen back upon a house of inferior grade, located
upon the level ground, such as the timber-framed houses of the
Minnitarees and Mandans, in which case there would have been no
necessity for the embankments in question. Or, they might have
raised these embankments of earth, inclosing rectangles or squares,
and constructed long houses upon them, which, it is submitted, is
precisely what they did. Such houses would agree in general
character and in plan, and in the uses to which they were adapted,
with those of the aborigines found in all parts of America.

The elevated platform of earth as a house-site is an element in
Indian architecture which reappears in a conspicuous manner in the
solid pyramidal platforms upon which the great stone structures in
Yucatan and Central America were erected, and which sprang from the
defensive and the communal principles in living. This latter
principle required large houses for the accommodation of a number of
families in the Lower Status of barbarism, and large enough in some
cases, when the people were in the Middle Status, to accommodate an
entire tribe. When adobe bricks were used the house was usually a
single structure, three or four rooms deep and three or four stories
high, constructed in a block, and in the nature of a fortress. The
ground story was little used, except for storage, and they lived,
practically, upon the roof terraces. When the use of stone came in,
the structure often consisted of a main building four or five
hundred feet long, and two wings two and three hundred feet in length,
inclosing three sides of an open court, the fourth side being
protected by a low stone wall. Such were the pueblos now in ruins
upon the Rio Chaco in New Mexico.

In the highest form of this architecture in Yucatan and Chiapas, the
pyramidal elevation appears faced with dry stone walls. The
buildings upon its summit were often in the form of a quadrangle,
with an open court in the center; but the buildings were generally
disconnected at the four angles, as in the House of the Nuns at Uxmal.
All of these forms are parts of one system of indigenous architecture;
and the several parts are susceptible of articulation in a series
representing a progressive development of a common thought, that of
joint residence, with the practice of communism in living in large
groups in the same house, or in one group consisting of the entire

Let us, then, inquire whether the principal embankments of the
Mound-Builders were adapted, as raised platforms of earth, for the
sites of long houses constructed on the communistic principle, and
in the general style of the houses of the American aborigines.

In the valley of the Scioto, in Ohio, and within an extent of twelve
miles, were found the remains of seven villages of the Mound-Builders,
four upon the east and three upon the west side of the river. They
are among the best of their works, and furnish fair examples of the
whole. One of the number, the High Bank Pueblo, is shown in
ground-plan in the engraving, Fig. 46. It is the only one in which
the inclosure is octagonal instead of square. The remains of each of
the seven consist principally of embankments like railway grades
several feet high and correspondingly broad at the base, inclosing a
square or slightly irregular area, the embankment on each of the
four sides being about a thousand feet long, with an opening or
gateway in the middle and at the four angles of the square. Attached
to or quite near to five of the seven are large circular inclosures,
each formed by a similar though lower embankment of earth and
inclosing a space somewhat larger than the squares. The respective
heights of the embankments, forming four of the rectangles, are
given at four, six, ten, and twelve feet; and of three of the
circular embankments, at five and six feet, respectively.

The embankments inclosing the squares were probably the site of
their houses; since, as the highest, and because they are straight,
they were best adapted to the purpose. The situations of these
pueblos at short distances from each other on the same stream
accords with the usages of the Village Indians of New and Old Mexico
and Central America in locating their villages. These pueblos were
probably occupied by Mound-Builders of the same tribe, and were not
unlikely under a common government, consisting of a council of chiefs.
It is probable, also, that they were constructed, one after the other,
by colonists from an original village.

In the engraving, Fig. 46, the form and relations of the embankments
are shown, with cross-sections indicating their elevation and
present ground-dimensions. It was taken from the work of Squier and
Davis. [Footnote: Smith Con., vol. i, p1. xvi.]

These authors remark that "the principal work consists of an octagon
and circle, the former measuring nine hundred and fifty feet, the
latter ten hundred and fifty feet in diameter.... The walls of the
octagon are very bold, and, where they have been least subject to
cultivation, are now between eleven and twelve feet in height by
about fifty feet base. The wall of the circle is much less, nowhere
measuring over four or five feet in altitude. In all these respects,
as in the absence of a ditch and the presence of the two small
circles, this work resembles the Hopeton Works." [Footnote: ib., p.

Of the latter, which is nine miles above on the Scioto, they remark
that "the walls of the rectangular work are composed of a clayey
loam twelve feet high by fifty feet base.... They resemble the heavy
grading of a railway, and are broad enough on the top to admit of
the passage of a coach." [Footnote: ib., p. 51.]

It will be noticed that the octagonal work shown in the engraving
consists of seven distinct embankments. Six of these are about four
hundred and fifty feet long, and the remaining one, which once
consisted of two equal sections, as shown by the mound to face an
original opening in the center, now forms one continuous embankment
facing one side of the inclosed area. If these embankments were
reformed, with the materials washed down and now spread over a base
of fifty feet, with sloping sides and a level summit, they would
form new embankments thirty-seven feet wide at base, ten feet high,
and with a summit platform twenty-two feet wide. If a surface
coating of clay were used, the sides could be made steeper and the
summit platform broader. On embankments thus reformed out of their
original materials respectable as well as sufficient sites would be
provided for long joint-tenement houses, comparted into chambers
like stalls opening upon a central passage way through the structure
from end to end, as in the long-houses of the Iroquois. Such
embankments were strikingly adapted to houses of the aboriginal
American model, the characteristic feature of which was sufficient
length to afford a number of apartments. This feature became more
marked in the houses of the Village Indians, among whom houses three
hundred, four hundred, and even five hundred feet in length have
been found, as elsewhere stated.

These embankments answered as a substitute for the first story of
the house constructed of adobe bricks, which was usually from ten to
twelve feet high, and closed up solid on the ground, externally. The
gateways entering the square were protected, it may be supposed,
with palisades of round timber set in the ground, each row of stakes
commencing at the opposite ends of the embankments and contracting
after passing each other to a narrow opening on the inside, which
might be permanently closed. Indian tribes in a lower condition than
the Mound-Builders were familiar with palisades. The inclosed square
was thus completely protected by the long-houses standing upon these
embankments and the gateways guarding the several entrances. The
pueblo, externally, would present continuous ramparts of earth ten
feet high, around an inclosed area, surmounted with timber-framed
houses with walls sloping like the embankments, and coated with
earth mixed with clay and gravel, rising ten or twelve feet above
their summits; the two forming a sloping wall of earth twenty feet
high. It seems extremely probable, for the reasons stated, that they
raised these embankments as foundations, and planted their
long-houses upon them, thus uniting the defensive principle with
that of communism in living. Such houses would harmonize with the
general plan of life of the American aborigines, and with the
general type of their house architecture.

It is not necessary to know the exact form or internal plan of these
houses in order to establish this hypothesis. It is sufficient to
show that these embankments as restored were not only adapted, but
admirably adapted, to joint-tenement houses of the aboriginal
American type. The restoration, Fig. 47, was drawn by my friend
James G. Cutler, esq., of Rochester, architect, in accordance with
the foregoing suggestions. It shows not only the feasibility of
occupying these embankments with long houses, but also that each
pueblo was designed by the Mound-Builders to be a fortress, able to
resist assault with the appliances of Indian warfare. From the
defensive character of the great houses of the Village Indian in
general, this feature might have been expected to appear in the
houses of the Mound-Builders.

In this restoration the houses are nearly triangular and of simple
construction. Indians much ruder than they are supposed to have been,
as the Minnitarees and Mandans, walled their houses with slabs of
wood standing on a slope, and roofed them at a lower angle, covering
both the sloping external walls and the roof with a "concrete of
tough clay and gravel," a foot or more thick. Long triangular houses
of the width of the summit of these embankments, with their doorways
opening upon the square, and with the interior comparted in the form
of stalls upon each side of a central passage way, would realize,
with the inclosed court, some of the features and nearly all the
advantages of the New Mexican pueblo houses. Occupying to the edge
of the embankments, these of the Mound-Builders could not be
successfully assailed from without either by Indian weapons or by
fire; and within, their apartments would be as secure and capacious
as those of the Village Indians in general at the period of their
discovery. The inclosed court, which is of unusual size, is one of
the remarkable features of the plan. It afforded a protected place
for the villagers and a place of recreation for their children, as
well as room for their drying-scaffolds, of which Mr. Cutler has
introduced a number of the Minnetaree and Mandan model, and for
gardens if they chose to use a part of the area for that purpose.
They would also require room for a large accumulation of fuel for
winter use. The only assailable points are the gateways, of which
the embankments show seven. These undoubtedly were protected by rows
of round timber set in the ground, and passing each other in such a
manner as to leave a narrow opening, with a mound back of each, upon
which archers could stand and shoot their arrows over the heads of
those between them and the gateway in front. Such at least is the
object which the presence of the mound in each case suggests.

In the engraving, Fig. 48, there is a ground plan of a section of
one of the long-houses resting upon the restored embankment. It
shows eight apartments upon opposite sides of the central passage,
each nine feet wide by six feet deep, and surrounded by raised bunks
used both for seats and beds. The passage is eight feet wide and
runs through the house from end to end, with fire-pits in the center
for each four apartments. In interior plan it is an exact transcript
of the long-house of the Iroquois, and therefore adapted to the
joint habitation of a large number of related families, and to the
practice of communism.

Another section shows the embankment below the line A-B, which, as
stated, is ten feet high upon a base thirty-seven feet wide, and
with a summit platform twenty-two feet wide, which forms the floor
of the house. Above this is a cross-section of the structure. Round
posts six inches in diameter are set in the ground upon the lines of
the central passage, defining also the several stalls. These posts,
which rise eight feet above the level of the floor and are forked at
the top, support string-pieces which run the length of the house.
Against these, planks of split timber are placed so as to form a
sloping external wall, and these are covered with clay and gravel a
foot or more thick. A simpler method would be the use of poles set
close together and sunk in the ground, afterwards coated in the same
manner. Cross-pieces of round timber rest upon the stringers over
each pair of posts. The roof over the central passage is formed
independently of poles bracing against each other at the center from
opposite sides. This is also covered with concrete or mud mortar.
Openings through the roof are left over the fire-pits for the exit
of the smoke. The principle of construction adopted is that employed
in the dirt lodges of the Minnitarees and Mandans of the Upper
Missouri. As thus restored, this pueblo of the Mound-Builders is not
superior in the mechanism of the houses to those of the tribes named.
[Footnote: There are some reasons for supposing that the Minnitarees
are descendants of the Mound Builders.]

An elevation of a portion of one of the houses, on the court side,
is also furnished, showing the embankment with a ladder resting upon
it used as steps, and which could be taken up at night; also one of
the doors by which the house was entered.

It is not necessary, as before suggested, that the actual form and
structure of the houses of the Mound-Builders should be shown to
establish the hypothesis that these embankments were the veritable
sites of their houses. If it is made evident that the summit
platforms of these embankments, when reformed from their own
materials, would afford practicable sites for houses, which when
constructed would have been comfortable dwellings adapted to the
climate and to Indian life in the Middle Status of barbarism, this
is all that can be required. The restoration of this pueblo
establishes the affirmative of this proposition, with the superadded
confirmation of that defensive character which marks all the house
architecture of the Village Indians in New and Old Mexico and
Central America.

With their undoubted advancement beyond the Iroquois and Minnitarees,
the Mound-Builders may have constructed better houses upon these
platform elevations than the plans indicate. No remains of adobes
have been found in connection with these embankments, and nothing to
indicate that walls of such brick had ever been raised upon them.
The disintegrated mass would have shown itself in the form of the
embankment after the lapse of many centuries. On the contrary, they
were found in the precise form they would have assumed, under
atmospheric influences, after structures of the kind described had
perished, and the embankments had been abandoned for centuries.

These embankments, therefore, require triangular houses of the kind
described, and long-houses, as well, covering their entire length.
But the interior plan might have been different, for example, the
passage way might have been along the exterior wall, and the stalls
or apartments on the court side, and but half as many in number, and,
instead of one continuous house in the interior, four hundred and
fifty feet in length, it might have been divided into several,
separated from each other by cross partitions. The plan of life,
however, which we are justified in ascribing to them, from known
usages of Indian tribes in a similar condition of advancement, would
lead us to expect large households formed on the basis of kin, with
the practice of communism in living in each household, whether large
or small. There is a direct connection in principle between the
platform elevations inclosing a large square on which the High Bank
Pueblo was constructed, and the pyramidal platforms in Yucatan,
smaller in diameter but higher in elevation, upon which were erected
the most artistic houses constructed by the American aborigines. In
the latter cases the central area rises to the common level of the
embankments upon which the houses were constructed. The former has
the security gained by a house-site above the level of the
surrounding ground; and it represents about all the advance made by
the Village Indians in the art of war above the tribes in a lower
condition of barbarism. They placed their houses and homes in a
position unassailable by the methods of Indian warfare.

There is some diversity, as would be expected, in the size of the
squares inclosed by these embankments. They range from four hundred
and fifty to seventeen hundred feet, the majority measuring between
eight hundred and fifty and a thousand feet. Gateways are usually
found at the four angles and at the center of each side. A
comparison of the dimensions of twenty of these squares, figured in
the "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley," gives for the
average nine hundred and thirty-seven feet. The aggregate length of
the embankments shown in Fig. 46 is three thousand six hundred feet,
which, at an average of ten feet for each apartment, would give
three hundred and sixty upon each side of the passage way, or seven
hundred and twenty in all. From this number should be deducted such
as were used for storage, for doorways, and for public uses.
Allowing two apartments for each family of five persons, the High
Bank Pueblo would have accommodated from fifteen hundred to two
thousand persons, living in the fashion of Indians, which is about
the number of an average pueblo of the Village Indians. This result
may be strengthened by comparing houses of existing Indian tribes.
The Seneca-Iroquois village of Tiotohatton, two centuries ago, was
estimated at a hundred and twenty houses. Taking the number at one
hundred, with an average length of fifty feet, and it would give a
lineal length of house-room of five thousand feet. It was the
largest of the Seneca, and the largest of the Iroquois villages, and
contained about two thousand inhabitants. A similar result is
obtained by another comparison. The aggregate length of the
apartments in the pueblo of Chettro Kettle, in New Mexico, now in
ruins, including those in the several stories, is four thousand
seven hundred feet. It contained probably about the same number of

The foregoing explanation of the uses of these embankments rests
upon the defensive principle in the house architecture of the
Village Indians, and upon a state of the family requiring joint
tenement houses communistic in character. To both of these
requirements this conjectural restoration of one of the pueblos of
the Mound-Builders responds in a remarkable manner. In the
diversified forms of the houses of the Village Indians, in all parts
of America, the defensive principle is a constant feature. Among the
Mound-Builders a rampart of earth ten feet high around a village
would afford no protection, but surmounted with long-houses, the
walls of which rose continuous with the embankments, the strength of
these walls, though of timber coated with earth, would render a
rampart thus surmounted and doubled in height a formidable barrier
against Indian assault. The second principle, that of communism in
living in joint-tenement houses, which is impressed not less clearly
upon the houses of the Village Indians in general than upon the
supposed houses of the Mound-Builders, harmonized completely with
the first. From the two together sprang the house architecture of
the American aborigines, with its diversities of form, and they seem
sufficient for its interpretation. The Mound-Builders in their new
area east of the Mississippi finding it impossible to construct
joint tenement houses of adobe bricks to which they had been
accustomed substituted solid embankments of earth in the place of
the first story closed up on the ground and erected triangular
houses upon them covered with earth. When circumstances compelled a
change of plan, the second is not a violent departure from the first.
There is a natural connection between them. Finally, it is deemed
quite sufficient to sustain the interpretation given that these
embankments were eminently adapted to the uses indicated, and that
the pueblo as restored, and with its inclosed court, would have
afforded to its inhabitants pleasant, protected and attractive homes.

With respect to the large circular inclosures, adjacent to and
communicating with the squares, it is not necessary that we should
know their object. The one attached to the High Bank Pueblo contains
twenty acres of land, and doubtless subserved some useful purpose in
their plan of life. The first suggestion which presents itself is,
that as a substitute for a fence it surrounded the garden of the
village in which they cultivated their maize, beans, squashes, and
tobacco. At the Minnetaree village a similar inclosure may now be
seen by the side of the village surrounding their cultivated land,
consisting partly of hedge and partly of stakes, the open prairie
stretching out beyond. We cannot know all the necessities that
attended their mode of life; although houses, gardens, food, and
raiment were among those which must have existed.

There is another class of circular embankments, about two hundred
and fifty feet in diameter, connected with each other in some cases
by long and low parallel embankments, as may be seen in Fig 46.
Undoubtedly they were for some useful purpose, which may or may not
be divined correctly, but a knowledge of which is not necessary to
our hypothesis respecting the principal embankments. It may be
suggested as probable that the Mound-Builders were organized in
gentes, phratries, and tribes. If this were the case, the phratries
would need separate places for holding their councils and for
performing their religious observances. These ring embankments
suggest the circular estufas found in connection with the New
Mexican pueblos, two, four, and sometimes five at one pueblo. The
circles were adapted to open-air councils, after the fashion of the
American Indian tribes. As there are two of these connected with
each other, and two not connected, it is not improbable that the
Mound-Builders at this village were organized in two and perhaps
four phratries, and that they performed their religious ceremonies
and public business in these open estufas.

[Footnote: The solid rectangular platforms found at Marietta, Ohio,
and at several places in the Gulf region, are analogous to those in
Yucatan. They are an advance upon the ring inclosures, and were
probably designed for religious uses. That the Mound Builders were
at one time accustomed to adobe brick is proven by their presence at
Seltzertown, in the State of Mississippi, forming a part of the wall
of a mound. (See Foster's Pre-Historic Races of the U.S., p. 112.)]

Practice of Cremation.--Among other works are the conical mounds,
which are numerous, found in or near circular embankments. They vary
in height from five to ten and twenty feet; with one, the Grave
Creek Mound, seventy feet high. They are classified by Squier and
Davis, who surveyed and examined them, into "Mounds of Sacrifice,"
"Mounds of Sepulture," and "Mounds of Observation." The first kind
only in which the so-called altars are found will be noticed.

At the center of each of the mounds of this class, and on the ground
level there was found a bed of clay artificially formed into a
shallow basin and then hardened by fire These basins have been
termed "altars" by Squier and Davis in their work on the "Ancient
Monuments of the Mississippi Valley." Mr. Squier remarks in a resume
of this work published separately that "some are round others
elliptical and others square or parallelograms.... The usual
dimensions are from five to eight feet." [Footnote: Trans. Am Eth Soc]

[Illustration: FIG 49--Mound Artificial Clay Basin]

At Mound City on the Scioto River there is a group of twenty six
mounds in one inclosure an engraving of one of which taken from
Mr. Squier's paper is shown in Fig 49. It is seven feet high by
fifty five feet base and contained the artificial clay basin in
question. 'F' is the basin which is round, and measures from c to d
nine feet, and from a to e five feet. The height from b to e is
twenty inches, and the dip of the curve a to e is nine inches.
"The body of the altar," Mr. Squier remarks, "is burned throughout,
though in a greater degree within the basin where it was so hard as
to resist the blow of a heavy hatchet, the instrument rebounding as
if struck upon a rock. The basin, or hollow of the altar, was filled
up even full with dry ashes, intermingled with which were some
fragments of pottery.... One of the vases, taken in fragments from
the mound, has been very nearly restored. The sketch B presents its
outlines and the character of its ornaments. Its height is six, and
its greatest diameter eight inches.... Above the deposit of ashes,
and covering the entire basin, was a layer of silvery or opaque mica
in sheets overlapping each other, and immediately over the center of
the basin was heaped a quantity of human bones, probably the amount
of a single skeleton, in fragments. The position of these is
indicated by O in the section. The layer of mica and calcined bones,
it should be remarked to prevent misapprehension, was peculiar to
this individual mound, and not found in any other of the class."
[Footnote: Observations, etc, Trans Am Eth Soc ii p 161] Calcined
bones, however, were found in three out of some twenty mounds of
this class examined. [Footnote: Ane Monte pp. 157, 159]

The question now recurs, what was the use of the basin of clay, and
what the object of the mound itself? The terms "altars" and
"mounds of sacrifice," employed in describing them, imply that human
sacrifices were offered on these "altars," "upon which glowed the
sacrificial fires." [Footnote: Ib, p. 15]

There is no propriety, I respectfully submit, in the use of either
of these terms, or in the conclusions they would force us to adopt
Human sacrifices were unknown in the Lower Status of barbarism; but
they were introduced in the Middle Status, when the first organized
priesthood, distinguished by their apparel, appears. In parts of
Mexico, and, it is claimed, in parts of Central America, these
atrocious rites were performed, but they were unknown in New Mexico,
and, without better evidence than these miscalled altars afford,
they cannot be fastened upon the Mound-Builders. Moreover, these
clay beds were not adapted to the barbarous work. Wherever human
sacrifices are known to have occurred among the American aborigines,
the place was an elevated mound platform, in the nature of a temple,
as the Teocalli of Mexico, and the raised altar or sacrificial stone
stood before the idol in whose worship the rites were performed.
There is neither a temple nor an idol, but a hollow bed of clay
covered by a mound raised in honor over the ashes of a deceased chief,
for assuredly such a mound would not have been raised over the ashes
of a victim. Indians never exchanged prisoners of war. Adoption or
burning at the stake was the alternative of capture; but no mound
was ever raised over the burned remains. Human sacrifices seem to
have originated in an attempt to utilize the predetermined death of
prisoners of war in the service of the gods, until slavery finally
offered a profitable substitute, in the Upper Status of barbarism.

Another use suggests itself for this artificial basin more in
accordance with Indian usages and customs, namely, that cremation of
the body of a deceased chief was performed upon it, after which the
mound in question was raised over his ashes in accordance with
Indian custom.

Cremation was practiced by the Village Indians only among the
American aborigines. It was not general even among them, burial in
the ground being the common usage; but it was more or less general
in the case of chiefs. The mode of cremation varied in different
areas, but the full particulars are not given in any instance. In
Nicaragua the body of a deceased chief of the highest grade was
wrapped in clothes and suspended by ropes before a fire until the
body was baked to dryness; then, after keeping it a year, it was
taken to the market-place, where they burned it, believing that the
smoke went "to the place where the dead man's soul was." [Footnote:
Herrera's Hist. America, ii, 133.] From this or some similar conceit
the practice of cremation probably originated.


There are no reasons for supposing, from the number of their
villages, that the Mound-Builders were a numerous people. My friend,
Prof. Charles Whittlesey, in a discussion of the rate of increase
of the human race, estimates them at 500,000. [Footnote: Trans.
Am. Ass. for the Adv. of Science, 1873, p. 320.]

With thanks for the moderateness of the estimate, one-third of that
number would have been more satisfactory. Dense populations, an
expression sometimes applied to the Mound-Builders, have never
existed without either flocks and herds, or field agriculture with
the use of the plow. In some favored areas, where the facilities for
irrigation were unusual, a considerable population has been
developed upon horticulture; but no traces of irrigating canals have
been found in connection with the works of the Mound-Builders.
Furthermore, it was unnecessary in their areas. Transplanted from a
comparatively mild to a cold climate, they must have found the
struggle for existence intensified. Like the Cibolans in 1540, it
was doubtless at all times equally true of them, that "they had
barely provisions enough for themselves." And yet there is no cereal
equal to maize in the rich reward it returns even for poor
cultivation. It grows in the hill, can be eaten green as well as ripe,
and is hardy and prolific. At the same time, while it can be made
the basis of human subsistence, it is not sufficient of itself for
the maintenance of vigorous, healthful life. Vegetables and game
were requisite to complete the supply of food. The difficulties in
the way of production set a limit to their numbers. These also
explain the small number of their settlements in the large areas
over which they spread. Although they found native copper on the
south shore of Lake Superior, and beat it into chisels and a species
of pointed spade, the number of copper tools found is small, much
too small to lead to the supposition that it sensibly influenced
their cultivation. A pick pointed with a stone chisel, a spade of
wood, and a triangular piece of flint set in a wooden handle and
used as a knife, were as perfect implements as they were able to
command. Horticulture practiced thus rudely was necessarily of
limited productiveness.

The idea has been advanced that "the condition of society among the
Mound-Builders was not that of freemen, or, in other words, that the
state possessed absolute power over the lives and fortunes of its
subjects." [Footnote: Foster's Pre-historic Races, etc., p. 386.]

It is a sufficient answer to this remarkable passage that a people
unable to dig a well or build a dry stone wall must have been unable
to establish political society, which was necessary to the existence
of a state.

From the absence of all traditionary knowledge of the Mound-Builders
among the tribes found east of the Mississippi, an inference arises
that the period of their occupation was ancient. Their withdrawal
was probably gradual, and completed before the advent of the
ancestors of the present tribes, or simultaneous with their arrival.
It seems more likely that their retirement from the country was
voluntary than that they were expelled by an influx of wild tribes.
If their expulsion had been the result of a protracted warfare, all
remembrance of so remarkable an event would scarcely have been lost
among the tribes by whom they were displaced. A warm climate was
necessary for the successful maintenance of the highest form of
Village Indian life. In the struggle for existence in this cold
climate Indian arts and ingenuity must have been taxed quite as
heavily to provide clothing as food. It is therefore not improbable
that the attempt to transplant the New Mexican type of village life
into the valley of the Ohio proved a failure, and that after great
efforts, continued through centuries of time, it was finally
abandoned by their withdrawal, first into the gulf region through
which they entered, and, lastly, from the country altogether.

The Tlascalans practiced cremation, but it was generally limited to
the chiefs. [Footnote: Herrera's Hist. America, ii, 302.] It was the
same among the Aztecs. "Others were burnt and the ashes buried in
the temples, but they were all interred with whatever things of
value they possessed." [Footnote: ib., iii, 220.] The Mayas of
Yucatan came nearer the Romans in the practice, for they preserved
the ashes in earthen vessels. "The dead were much lamented," remarks
Herrera, "in silence by day and with dismal shrieks by night....
filling their mouths with ground wheat [maize] that they might not
want food in the other world.... The bodies of their lords were
burnt and their ashes put into large vessels, over which temples
were built. Some made wooden statues of their parents, and leaving
an hollow in the necks of them, put in their ashes and kept them
among their idols with great veneration." [Footnote: ib., iv, 175.]
In New Mexico cremation is occasionally practiced at the present time.

That the Mound-Builders should have had this custom, in view of its
prevalence among the Village Indians, would afford no cause of
surprise. I think we may, not without reason, recognize in this
artificial basin of clay a cremation bed, upon which the body was
placed in a sitting posture, covered with fuel, and then burned--in
some cases partially, and in others until every vestige of the body
had been burned to ashes--after which, or even before the burning, a
mound was raised over them as a mark of honor and respect. These
mounds have yielded a large number of copper and stone implements,
pipes, fragments of water jars, and other articles usually entombed
with the remains of the dead. It seems to have been their method of
cremation; and it must be admitted to be quite as respectable as any
known form of this strange practice of a large portion of the human

[Relocated Footnote: "The snow and cold are wont to be great,"
Coronado remarks in his relation, "for so say the inhabitants of the
country; and it is very likely so to be, both in respect of the
manner of the country and of the fashion of their houses, and their
furs and other things, which the people have to defend them from cold....
They have no cotton-wool growing, because the country is cold, yet
they wear mantles thereof, as your honor may see by the show thereof;
and true it is that there was found in their houses certain yarn
made of cotton-wool.... In this country there are certain skins,
well dressed, and they dress them and paint them when they kill
their oxen [buffaloes], for so they say themselves."--Hakluyt's Coll.
of Voyages, Lond. ed., 1600, iii, 377.]



The first accounts of the pueblo of Mexico created a powerful
sensation in Europe. In the West India Islands the Spanish
discoverers found small Indian tribes under the government of chiefs,
but on the continent, in the Valley of Mexico, they found a
confederacy of three Indian tribes under a more advanced but similar
government. In the midst of the valley was a large pueblo, the
largest in America, surrounded with water, approached by causeways;
in fine, a water-girt fortress impregnable to Indian assault. This
pueblo presented to the Spanish adventurers the extraordinary
spectacle of an Indian society lying two ethnical periods back of
European society, but with a government and plan of life at once
intelligent, orderly, and complete. There was aroused an insatiable
curiosity for additional particulars, which has continued for three
centuries, and which has called into existence a larger number of
works than were ever before written upon any people of the same
number and of the same importance.

The Spanish adventurers who captured the pueblo of Mexico saw a king
in Montezuma, lords in Aztec chiefs, and a palace in the large
joint-tenement house occupied, Indian fashion, by Montezuma and his
fellow-householders. It was, perhaps, an unavoidable self-deception
at the time, because they knew nothing of the Aztec social system.
Unfortunately it inaugurated American aboriginal history upon a
misconception of Indian life which has remained substantially
unquestioned until recently. The first eye-witnesses gave the
keynote to this history by introducing Montezuma as a king,
occupying a palace of great extent crowded with retainers, and
situated in the midst of a grand and populous city, over which, and
much beside, he was reputed master. But king and kingdom were in
time found too common to express all the glory and splendor the
imagination was beginning to conceive of Aztec society; and emperor
and empire gradually superseded the more humble conception of the
conquerors. [Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 1 relocated to
chapter end.]

A psychological fact, which deserves a moment's notice, is revealed
by these works, written as they were with a desire for the truth and
without intending to deceive. These writers ought to have known that
every Indian tribe in America was an organized society, with
definite institutions, usages, and customs, which, when ascertained,
would have perfectly explained its government, the social relations
of the people, and their plan of life. Indian society could be
explained as completely and understood as perfectly as the civilized
society of Europe or America by finding its exact organization. This,
strange to say, was never attempted, or at least never accomplished,
by any one of these numerous and voluminous writers. To every author,
from Cortes and Bernal Diaz to Brasseur de Bourbourg and Hubert H.
Bancroft, Indian society was an unfathomable mystery, and their
works have left it a mystery still. Ignorant of its structure and
principles, and unable to comprehend its peculiarities, they invoked
the imagination to supply whatever was necessary to fill out the
picture. When the reason, from want of facts, is unable to
understand and therefore unable to explain the structure of a given
society, imagination walks bravely in and fearlessly rears its
glittering fabric to the skies. Thus in this case, we have a grand
historical romance, strung upon the conquest of Mexico as upon a
thread; the acts of the Spaniards, the pueblo of Mexico, and its
capture, are historical, while the descriptions of Indian society
and government are imaginary and delusive. These picturesque tales
have been read with wonder and admiration, as they successively
appeared, for three hundred and fifty years; though shown to be
romances, they will continue to be read as Robinson Crusoe is read,
not because they are true, but because they are pleasing. The
psychological revelation is the eager, undefinable interest aroused
by any picture of ancient society. It is felt by every stranger when
he first walks the streets of Pompeii, and, standing within the
walls of its roofless houses, strives to picture to himself the life
and the society which flourished there eighteen hundred years ago.
In Mexico the Spaniards found an organized society several thousand
years further back of their own than Pompeian society, in its arts,
institutions, and state of advancement. It was this revelation of a
phase of the ancient life of mankind which possessed and still
possesses such power to kindle the imagination and inspire enthusiasm.
It caught the imagination and overcame the critical judgment of
Prescott, our most charming writer; it ravaged the sprightly brain
of Brasseur de Bourbourg, and it carried up in a whirlwind our
author at the Golden Gate.

The commendation these works have received from critical journals
reveals with painful distinctness the fact that we have no science
of American ethnology. Such a science, resting as it must upon
verified facts, and dealing with the institutions, arts and
inventions, usages and customs, languages, religious beliefs, and
plan of government of the Indian tribes, would, were it fairly
established, command as well as deserve the respect of the American
people. With the exception of an amateur here and there, American
scholars have not been willing to devote themselves to so vast a work.
It may be truly said at this moment that the structure and
principles of Indian society are but partially known, and that the
American Indian himself is still an enigma among us. The question is
still before us as a nation whether we will undertake the work of
furnishing to the world a scientific exposition of Indian society,
or leave it as it now appears, crude, unmeaning, unintelligible, a
chaos of contradictions and puerile absurdities. With a field of
unequaled richness and of vast extent, with the same Red Race in all
the stages of advancement indicated by three great ethnical periods,
namely the Status of savagery, the Lower Status of barbarism, and
the Middle Status of barbarism, [Footnote: See ante, page 43, note,
for a definition of proposed ethnical or culture periods, and
Ancient Society, chapter 1, "Ethnical Periods."] more persons ought
to be found willing to work upon this material for the credit of
American scholarship. It will be necessary for them to do as
Herodotus did in Asia and Africa, to visit the native tribes at
their villages and encampments, and study their institutions as
living organisms, their condition, and their plan of life. When this
has been done from the region of the Arctic Sea to Patagonia, Indian
society will become intelligible, because its structure and
principles will be understood. It exhibits three distinct phases,
each with a culture peculiar to itself, lying back of civilization,
and back of the Upper Status of barbarism, having very little in
common with European society of three hundred years ago, and very
little in common with American society of to-day. Its institutions,
inventions, and customs find no analogues in those of civilized
nations, and cannot be explained in terms adapted to such a society.
Our later investigators are doing their work more and more on the
plan of direct visitation, and I make no doubt a science of American
ethnology will yet come into existence among us and rise high in
public estimation from the important results it will rapidly achieve.
Precisely what is now needed is the ascertainment and scientific
treatment of this material.

After so general a condemnation of Spanish and American writers, so
far as they represent Aztec society and government, some facts and
some reasons ought to be presented to justify the charge.
Recognizing the obligation, I propose to question the credibility of
so much of the second volume of "The Native Races" and of so much of
other Spanish histories as relate to two subjects--the character of
the house in which Montezuma resided, which is styled a palace; and
the account of the celebrated dinner of Montezuma, which is
represented as the daily banquet of an imperial potentate. Neither
subject, considered in itself, is of much importance; but if the
accounts in these two particulars are found to be fictitious and
delusive, a breach will be made in a vital section of the fabric of
Aztec romance, now the most deadly encumbrance upon American

It may be premised that there is a strong probability, from what is
known of Indian life and society, that the house in which Montezuma
lived was a joint-tenement house of the aboriginal American model,
owned by a large number of related families, and occupied by them in
common as joint proprietors; that the dinner in question was the
usual single daily meal of a communal household, prepared in a
common cook-house from common stores, and divided, Indian fashion,
from the kettle; and that all the Spaniards found in Mexico was a
simple confederacy of three Indian tribes, the counterpart of which
was found in all parts of America.

It may be premised further that the Spanish adventures who thronged
to the New World after its discovery found the same race of Red
Indians in the West India Islands, in Central and South America, in
Florida, and in Mexico.

[Footnote: "But among all the other inhabitants of America there is
such a striking similitude in the form of their bodies, and the
qualities of their minds, that notwithstanding the diversities
occasioned by the influence of climate, or unequal progress in
improvement, we must pronounce them to be descended from one source."--
Robertson's History of America, Law's ed., p. 69.]

In their mode of life and means of subsistence, in their weapons,
arts, usages, and customs, in their institutions, and in their
mental and physical characteristics, they were the same people in
different stages of advancement. No distinction of race was observed,
and none in fact existed. They were broken up into numerous
independent tribes, each under the government of a council of chiefs.
Among the more advanced tribes, confederacies existed, which
represented the highest stage their governmental institutions had
attained. In some of them, as in the Aztec confederacy, they had a
principal war-chief, elected for life or during good behavior, who
was the general commander of the military bands. His powers were
those of a general, and necessarily arbitrary when in the field.
Behind this war-chief--noticed, it is true, by Spanish writers, but
without explaining or even ascertaining its functions--was the
council of chiefs, "the great council without whose authority,"
Acosta remarks, Montezuma "might not do anything of importance".
[Footnote: The Natural and Moral History of the East and West Indies,
Lond. ed., 1604, Grimstone's Trans., p. 485.]

The civil and military powers of the government were in a certain
sense coordinated between the council of chiefs and the military
commander. The government of the Aztec confederacy was essentially
democratic, because its organization and institutions were so. If a
more special designation is needed, it will be sufficient to
describe it as a military democracy.

The Spaniards who overran Mexico and Peru gave a very different
interpretation of these two organizations. Having found, as they
supposed, two absolute monarchies with feudal characteristics, the
history of American Indian institutions was cast in this mold. The
chief attention of Europeans in the sixteenth century was directed
to these two governments, to which the affairs of the numerous
remaining tribes and confederacies were made subordinate. Subsequent
history has run in the same grooves for more than three centuries,
striving diligently to confirm that of which confirmation was
impossible. The generalization was perhaps proper enough, that if
the institutions of the Aztecs and Peruvians, such well-advanced
Indian tribes, culminated in monarchy, those of the Indian tribes
generally were essentially monarchical, and therefore those of
Mexico and Peru should represent the institutions of the Red Race.

It may be premised, finally, that the histories of Spanish America
may be trusted in whatever relates to the acts of the Spaniards, and
to the acts and personal characteristics of the Indians; in whatever
relates to their weapons, implements, and utensils, fabrics, food,
and raiment, and things of a similar character. But in whatever
relates to Indian society and government, their social relations and
plan of life, they are nearly worthless, because they learned
nothing and knew nothing of either. We are at full liberty to reject
them in these respects, and commence anew; using any facts they may
contain which harmonize with what is known of Indian society. It was
a calamity to the entire Red Race that the achievements of the
Village Indians of Mexico and Central America, in the development of
their institutions, should have suffered a shipwreck so nearly total.
The only remedy for the evil done them is to recover, if possible, a
knowledge of their institutions, which alone can place them in their
proper position in the history of mankind.

In order to understand so simple an event in Indian life as
Montezuma's dinner, it is necessary to know certain usages and
customs, and even certain institutions of the Indian tribes generally,
which had a direct bearing upon the dinner of every Indian in
America at the epoch of the Spanish conquest. Although it may seem
strange to the reader, it requires a knowledge of several classes of
facts to comprehend this dinner, such as: 1. The organization in
gentes, phratries, and tribes. 2. The ownership of lands in common. 3.
The law of hospitality. 4. The practice of communism in living. 5.
The communal character of their houses. 6. Their custom of having
but one prepared meal each day, a dinner. 7. Their separation at
meals, the men eating first, and the women and children afterwards.
These several topics have been considered in previous chapters.

Not a vestige of the ancient pueblo of Mexico (Tenochtitlan) remains
to assist us to a knowledge of its architecture. Its structures,
which were useless to a people of European habits, were speedily
destroyed to make room for a city adapted to the wants of a
civilized race. We must seek for its characteristics in contemporary
Indian houses which still remain in ruins, and in such of the early
descriptions as have come down to us, and then leave the subject
with but little accurate knowledge. Its situation, partly on dry
land and partly in the waters of a shallow artificial pond formed by
causeways and dikes, led to the formation of streets and squares,
which were unusual in Indian pueblos, and gave to it a remarkable
appearance. "There were three sorts of broad and spacious streets,"
Herrera remarks; "one sort all water with bridges, another all earth,
and a third of earth and water, there being a space to walk along on
land and the rest for canoes to pass, so that most of the streets
had walks on the sides and water in the middle". [Footnote: History
of America, ii, 361.]

Many of the houses were large, far beyond the supposable wants of a
single Indian family. They were constructed of adobe brick and of
stone, and plastered over in both cases with gypsum, which made them
a brilliant white; and some were constructed of a red porous stone.
In cutting and dressing this stone flint implements were used.
[Footnote: Clavigero, ii, 238.]

The fact that the houses were plastered externally leads us to infer
that they had not learned to dress stone and lay them in courses. It
is not certainly established that they had learned the use of a
mortar of lime and sand. In the final attack and capture, it is said
that Cortes, in the course of seventeen days, destroyed and leveled
three-quarters of the pueblo, which demonstrates the flimsy
character of the masonry. Some of the houses were constructed on
three sides of a court, like those on the Rio Chaco in New Mexico,
others probably surrounded an open court or quadrangle, like the
House of the Nuns at Uxmal; but this is not clearly shown. The best
houses were usually two stories high, an upper and lower floor being
mentioned. The second story receded from the first, probably in the
terraced form. Clavigero remarks that "the houses of the lords and
people of circumstance were built of stone and lime. They consisted
of two floors, having halls, large court-yards, and the chambers
fitly disposed; the roofs were flat and terraced; the walls were so
well whitened, polished, and shining that they appeared to the
Spaniards when at a distance to have been silver. The pavement or
floor was plaster, perfectly level, plain, and smooth.... The large
houses of the capital had in general two entrances, the principal
one to the street, the other to the canal. They had no wooden doors
to their houses." [Footnote: History of Mexico, ii, 232.]

The house was entered through doorways from the street, or from the
court, on the ground-floor. Not a house in Mexico is mentioned by
any of the early writers as occupied by a single family. They were
evidently joint-tenement houses of the aboriginal American model,
each occupied by a number of families ranging from five and ten to
one hundred, and perhaps in some cases two hundred families in a

Before considering the house architecture of the Aztecs, it remains
to notice, briefly, the general character of the houses of the
Village Indians within the areas of Spanish visitation. They were
joint-tenement houses, usually, of the American model, adapted to
communism in living, like those previously described, and will aid
us to understand the houses of the pueblo of Mexico.

Herrera, speaking of the natives of Cuba, remarks that "they had
caciques and towns of two hundred houses, with several families in
each of them, as was usual in Hispaniola". [Footnote: ib., ii, 15.]

The Cubans were below the Sedentary Indians. In Yucatan, the houses
of the Mayas, and of the tribes of Guatemala, Chiapas, and Honduras,
remain in ruins to speak for themselves, and will form the subject
of the ensuing chapter. On the march to Mexico, Cortez and his men,
"being come down into the plain, took up their quarters in a country
house that had many apartments." [Footnote: ib., ii, 320.]

"At Iztapalapa he was entertained in a house that had large courts,
upper and lower floors and very delightful gardens. The walls were
of stone, the timber work well wrought, there were many and spacious
rooms, hung with cotton hangings extraordinary rich in their way."
[Footnote: "History of America", 325.]

His accommodations in the pueblo of Mexico will elsewhere be noticed.
After the capture of the pueblo Alvaredo was sent southward with two
hundred foot and forty horse to the province of Tututlepec on the
Pacific. "When he arrived the lord of Tututlepec offered to quarter
the Spaniards in his palace which was very magnificent."

"In 1525 Cortez made his celebrated march to Guatemala with one
hundred and fifty horse, the same number of foot, and three hundred
Indians. Being well received in the city of Apoxpalan, Cortez and
all the Spaniards with their horses were quartered in one house, the
Mexicans being dispersed into others, and all of them plentifully
supplied with provisions during their stay. The first 'palace'
described by Herrera was discovered by Balboa somewhere in the
present Costa Rica, and Comagre has gone into history as its
proprietor. This palace was more remarkable and better built than
any that had been yet seen on the islands or the little that was
then known of the continent, being one hundred and fifty paces in
length and eighty in breadth founded on very large posts inclosed by
a stone wall with timber intermixed at the top and hollow spaces so
beautifully wrought that the Spaniards were amazed at the sight of
it and could not express the manner and curiosity of it. There were
in it several chambers and apartments and one that was like a
buttery and full of such provisions as the country afforded, as bread,
venison, swine's flesh, &c. There was another large room like a
cellar full of earthen vessel containing several sorts of white and
red liquors made of Indian wheat etc. The noticeable fact in this
description is the two chambers containing provisions and stores for
the household which was undoubtedly the case with all of those named.
Zempoala near Vera Cruz is described as a very large town with
stately buildings of good timber work and every house had a garden
with water so that it looked like a terrestrial paradise.... The
scouts advancing on horseback came to the great square and courts
where the prime houses were, which having been lately new plastered
over, were very light, the Indians being extraordinary expert at
that work", [Footnote: History of America, ii, 211.] and further
states that "the houses were built of 'lime and stone'."

These pueblos were generally small, consisting of three or four
large joint-tenement houses, with other houses smaller in size, the
different grades of houses representing the relative thrift and
prosperity of the several groups by whom they were owned and occupied.
It is doubtful whether there was a single pueblo in North America,
with the exception of Tlascala, Cholula, Tezcuco, and Mexico, which
contained ten thousand inhabitants. There is no occasion to apply
the term "city" to any of them. None of the Spanish descriptions
enable us to realize the exact form and structure of these houses,
or their relations to each other in forming a pueblo. But for the
pueblos, occupied or in ruins, in New Mexico, and the more
remarkable pueblos in ruins in Yucatan and Central America, we would
know very little concerning the house architecture of the Sedentary
Village Indians. It is evident from the citations made that the
largest of these joint-tenement houses would accommodate from five
hundred to a thousand or more people, living in the fashion of
Indians; and that the courts were probably quadrangles, formed by
constructing the building on three sides of an inclosed space, as in
the New Mexican pueblos, or upon the four sides, as in the House of
the Nuns, at Uxmal.

The writers on the conquest have failed to describe the Aztec house
in such a manner that it can be fairly comprehended. They have also
failed to explain the mode of life within it. But it can safely be
said that most of these houses were large, far beyond any supposable
wants of a single Indian family; that they were constructed, when on
dry land, of adobe brick, and when in the water, of stone imbedded
in some kind of mortar, and plastered over in both cases with gypsum,
which made them a brilliant white. Some also were constructed of a
red porous stone. Some of these houses were built on three sides of
a court, like those on the Chaco, but the court opened on a street
or causeway. Others not unlikely surrounded an open court or
quadrangle, which must have been entered through a gateway; but this
is not clearly shown. The large houses were probably two stories high;
an upper and a lower floor are mentioned in some cases, but rarely a

Communism in living in large households, the communism being
confined to the household, was probably the rule of life among the
ancient Mexicans at the time of the Conquest.

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote 2 relocated to chapter end.]

Two of the houses in Mexico were more particularly noted by the
soldiers of Cortes than others--that in which they were quartered,
and that in which Montezuma lived. Neither can be said to have been
described. I shall confine myself to these two structures.

Cortes made his first entry into Mexico in November, 1519, with four
hundred and fifty Spaniards, according to Bernal Diaz, [Footnote:
Diaz Conquest of Mex., ed. 1803, Keatinge's Trans., i, 181, 189.
Herrera says, 300, ii, 327.] accompanied by a thousand Tlaxcallan
allies. They were lodged in a vacant palace of Montezuma's late
father, Diaz naively remarks, observing that "the whole of this
palace was very light, airy, clean, and pleasant, the entry being
through a great court." [Footnote: Diaz, I, 191.] Cortes, after
describing his reception, informs us that Montezuma "returned along
the street in the order already described, until he reached a very
large and splendid palace in which we were to be quartered. He then
took me by the hand and led me into a spacious saloon, in front of
which was a court through which we had entered." [Footnote:
Dispatches of Cortes, Folsom's Trans., p. 86.]

So much for the statements of two eye-witnesses. Herrera gathered
some additional particulars. He states that "they came to a very
large court, which was the wardrobe of the idols, and had been the
house of Axayacatzin, Montezuma's father.... Being lodged in so
large a house, that, though it seems incredible, contained so many
capacious rooms, with bedchambers, that one hundred and fifty
Spaniards could all lie single. It was also worth observing that
though the house was so big, every part of it to the last corner was
very clean, neat, matted, and hung with hangings of cotton and
feather work of several colors, and had beds and mats with pavilions
over them. No man of whatsoever quality having any other sort of bed,
no other being used." [Footnote: History of America, ii, 330.] In
the tidiness of these rooms we gain some evidence of the character
of Aztec women.

Joint-tenement houses, and the mode of life they indicate, were at
this time unknown in Europe. They belonged to a more ancient
condition of society. It is not surprising, therefore, that the
Spaniards, astonished at their magnitude, should have styled them
palaces, and having been received with a great array by Montezuma,
as the general commander of the Aztec forces, should have regarded
him as a king, since monarchical government was the form with which
they were chiefly acquainted. Suffice it then, to say that one of
the great houses of the Aztecs was large enough to accommodate
Cortes and his fourteen hundred and fifty men including Indian
allies as they had previously been accommodated in one Cholulan
house and elsewhere, on the way to Mexico. From New Mexico to the
Isthmus of Panama there was scarcely a principal village in which an
equal number could not have found accommodations in a single house.
When it is found to be unnecessary to call it a palace in order to
account for its size, we are led to the conclusion that an ordinary
Aztec house was emptied of its inhabitants to make room for their
unwelcome visitors. After their reception, Aztec hospitality
supplied them with provisions. Mr. Bandelier has, in the article
above referred to, explained this house in a very satisfactory
manner as "the tecpan, or official house of the tribe." He says:
"The house where the Spaniards were quartered was the 'tecpan,' or
official house of the tribe, vacated by the official household for
that purpose." In sallying forth to greet the newcomers at the dike,
"Wrathy chief (Montezuma) acted simply as the representative of the
tribal hospitality, extending unusual courtesies to unusual,
mysterious, and therefore dreaded guests. Leaving these in
possession of the 'tecpan,' he retired to another of the large
communal buildings surrounding the central square, where the
official business was, meanwhile, transacted. His return to the
Spanish quarters, even if compulsory, had less in it to strike the
natives than is commonly believed. It was a re-installation in old
quarters, and therefore the 'Tlatocan (Council of Chiefs) itself
felt no hesitancy in meeting there again, until the real nature of
the dangerous visitors was ascertained, when the council gradually
withdrew from the snare, leaving the unfortunate 'chief of men' in
Spanish hands." [Footnote: 12 Annual Report of Peabody Museum, p.

We are next to consider the second so-called palace, that in which
Montezuma lived, and the dinner of Montezuma which these soldiers
witnessed, and which has gone into history as a part of the evidence
that a monarchy of the feudal type existed in Mexico. They had but
little time to make their observations, for this imaginary kingdom
perished almost immediately, and the people, in the main, dispersed.
The so-called palace of Montezuma is not described by Diaz, for the
reason, probably, that there was nothing to distinguish it from a
number of similar structures in the pueblo. Neither is it described
by Cortes or the Anonymous Conqueror; Cortes merely remarking
generally that "within the city his palaces were so wonderful that
it is hardly possible to describe their beauty and extent; I can
only say that in Spain there is nothing equal to them." [Footnote:
Despatches, p. 121.]

Gothic cathedrals were then standing in Spain, the Alhambra in
Grenada, and, without doubt, public and private buildings of dressed
stone laid in courses. While the comparison was mendacious, we can
understand the desire of the conqueror to magnify his exploits.
Herrera, who came later and had additional resources, remarks that
the palace in which Montezuma resided "had twenty gates, all of them
to the square or market-place, and the principal streets, and three
spacious courts, and in one of them a very large fountain.... There
were many halls one hundred feet in length, and rooms of twenty-five
and thirty, and one hundred baths. The timber-work was small,
without nails, but very fine and strong, which the Spaniards much
admired. The walls were of marble, jasper, porphyry, a black sort of
stone with red veins like blood, white stone, and another sort that
is transparent. The roofs were of wood, well wrought and carved....
The rooms were painted and matted, and many of them had rich
hangings of cotton and coney wool, or of feather-work. The beds were
not answerable to the grandeur of the house and furniture, being
poor and wretched, consisting of blankets upon mats or on hay....
Few men lie in this palace, but there were one thousand women in it,
and some say three thousand, which is reckoned most likely....
Montezuma took to himself the ladies that were the daughters of
great men, being many in number." [Footnote: History of America, ii,

The external walls of the houses were covered with plaster. From the
description it seems probable that in the interior of the large
rooms the natural faces of the stone in the walls were seen here and
there, some of the red porous stone, some of marble, and some
resembling porphyry, for it is not supposable that they could cut
this stone with flint implements. Large stones used on the inner
faces of the walls might have been left uncovered, and thus have
presented the mottled appearance mentioned. The Aztecs had no
structures comparable with those of Yucatan. Their architecture
resembles that of New Mexico wherever its features distinctly appear
upon evidence that can be trusted. The best rooms found in the
latter region are of thin pieces of sandstone prepared by fracture
and laid up with a uniform face. Herrera had no occasion to speak of
the use of marble and porphyry in the walls of this house in such a
vague manner and upon more vague information. The reference to the
thousand or more women as forming the harem of Montezuma is a gross

Mr. Hubert H. Bancroft, the last of the long line of writers who
have treated the affairs of the Aztecs, has put the finishing touch
to this picture in the following language: "The principal palace of
the king of Mexico was an irregular pile of low buildings enormous
in extent, constructed of huge blocks of tetzontli, a kind of porous
stone common to that country, cemented with mortar. The arrangement
of the buildings was such that they enclosed three great plazas or
public squares, in one of which a beautiful fountain incessantly
played. Twenty great doors opened on the squares and on the streets,
and over these was sculptured in stone the coat-of-arms of the king
of Mexico, an eagle griping in his talons a jaguar. In the interior
were many halls, and one in particular is said by a writer who
accompanied Cortes, known as the Anonymous Conqueror, to have been
of sufficient extent to contain three thousand men.... In addition
to these were more than one hundred smaller rooms, and the same
number of marble baths.... The walls and floors of halls and
apartments were many of them faced with polished slabs of marble,
jasper, obsidian, and white tecali; lofty columns of the same fine
stones supported marble balconies and porticos, every inch and
corner of which was filled with wondrous ornamental carving, or held
a grinning, grotesquely sculptured head. The beams and casings were
of cedar, cypress, and other valuable woods profusely carved and put
together without nails.... Superb mats of most exquisite finish were
spread upon the marble floors; the tapestry that draped the walls
and the curtains that hung before the windows were made of a fabric
most wonderful for its delicate texture, elegant designs, and
brilliant colors; through the halls and corridors a thousand golden
censers, in which burned precious spices and perfumes, diffused a
subtle odor." [Footnote: Native Races of the Pacific States, ii, 160.]

Upon this rhapsody it will be sufficient to remark that halls were
entirely unknown in Indian architecture. Neither a hall, as that
term is used by us, has ever been seen in an Indian house, nor has
one been found in the ruins of any Indian structure. An external
corridor has occasionally been found in ruins of houses in Central
America. The great doors open on the squares and streets; Aztec
window-curtains of delicate texture, marble baths and porticos, and
floors of polished slabs of marble, as figments of a troubled
imagination, recall the glowing description of the great kingdom of
the Sandwich Islands--with its king, its cabinet ministers, its
parliament, its army and navy, which Mark Twain has fitly
characterized as "an attempt to navigate a sardine dish with Great
Eastern machinery"; and it suggested also the Indian chief
humorously mentioned by Irving as generously "decked out in cocked
hat and military coat, in contrast with his breech clout and
leathern leggins, being grand officer at top and ragged Indian at
bottom." [Footnote: Bonneville, p. 34.] Whatever may be said by
credulous and enthusiastic authors to decorate this Indian pueblo,
its houses and its breech-cloth people, cannot conceal the "ragged
Indian" therein by dressing him in a European costume.

On the seventh day after the entry into Mexico, Montezuma was
induced by intimidation to leave the house in which he lived and
take up his quarters with Cortes, where he was held a prisoner until
his death, which occurred a few weeks later. Whatever was seen of
his mode of life in his usual place of residence was practically
limited to the five days between the coming of the Spaniards and his
capture. Our knowledge of the facts is in the main derived from what
these soldiers reported upon slight and imperfect means of
observation. Bernal Diaz and Cortes have left us an extraordinary
description, not of his residence, but of his daily life, and more
particularly of the dinner, which will now be considered. It is
worth the attempt to take up the pictures of these and succeeding
authors, and see whether the real truth of the matter cannot be
elicited from their own statements. There was undoubtedly a basis of
facts underneath them, because without such a basis the
superstructure could not have been created.

It may with reason be supposed that the Spaniards found Montezuma,
with his gentile kindred, in a large joint-tenement house,
containing perhaps fifty or a hundred families united in a communal
household. The dinner they witnessed was the single daily meal of
this household, prepared in a common cook-house from common stores,
and divided at the kettle. The dinner of each person was placed in
an earthen bowl, with which in his hand an Indian needed neither
chair nor table, and, moreover, had neither the one nor the other.
The men ate first, and by themselves, Indian fashion; and the women,
of whom only a few were seen, afterwards and by themselves. On this
hypothesis the dinner in question is susceptible of a satisfactory

It has been shown that each Aztec community of persons owned lands
in common, from which they derived their support. Their mode of
tillage and of distribution of the products, whatever it may have
been, would have returned to each family or household, large or small,
its rightful share. Communism in living in large households composed
of related families springs naturally from such a soil. It may be
considered a law of their condition, and, plainly enough, the most
economical mode of life they could adopt until the idea of property
had been sufficiently developed in their minds to lead to the
division of lands among individuals with ownership in fee, and power
of alienation. Their social system, which tended to unite kindred
families in a common household, their ownership of lands in common,
and their ownership, as a group, of a joint-tenement house, which
would necessarily follow, would not admit a right in persons to sell,
and thus to introduce strangers into the ownership of such lands or
such houses. Lands and houses were owned and held under a common
system which entered into their plan of life. The idea of property
was forming in their minds, but it was still in that immature state
which pertains to the Middle Status of barbarism. They had no money,
but traded by barter of commodities; very little personal property,
and scarcely anything of value to Europeans. They were still a
breech-cloth people, wearing this rag of barbarism as the
unmistakable evidence of their condition; and the family was in the
syndyasmian or pairing form, with separation at any moment at the
option of either party. It was the weakness of the family, its
inability to face alone the struggle of life, which led to the
construction of joint-tenement houses throughout North and South
America by the Indian tribes; and it was the gentile organization
which led them to fill these houses, on the principle of kin, with
related families.

In a pueblo as large as that of Mexico, which was the largest found
in America, and may possibly have contained thirty thousand
inhabitants, there must have been a number of large communal houses
of different sizes, from those that were called palaces, because of
their size, to those filled by a few families. Degrees of prosperity
are shown in barbarous as well as in civilized life in the quarters
of the people. Herrera states that the houses of the poorer sort of
people were "small, low, and mean," but that, "as small as the
houses were, they commonly contained two, four, and six families."
[Footnote: History of America, ii, 360.]

Wherever a household is found in Indian life, be the married pairs
composing it few or many, that household practiced communism in
living. In the largest of these houses it would not follow
necessarily that all its inmates lived from common stores, because
they might form several household groups in the same house; but in
the large household of which Montezuma was a member, it is plain
that it was fed from common stores prepared in a common cook-house,
and divided from the kettle, in earthen bowls, each containing the
dinner of a single person. Montezuma was supposed to be absolute
master of Mexico, and what they saw at this dinner was interpreted
with exclusive reference to him as the central figure. The result is
remarkably grotesque. It was their own self-deception, without any
assistance from the Aztecs. The accounts given by Diaz and Cortes,
and which subsequent writers have built upon with glowing enthusiasm
and free additions, is simply the gossip of a camp of soldiers
suddenly cast into an earlier form of society, which the Village
Indians of America, of all mankind, then best represented. That they
could understand it was not to have been expected. Accustomed to
monarchy and to privileged classes, the principal Aztec war-chief
seemed to them quite naturally a king, and sachems and chiefs
followed in their vision as princes and lords. But that they should
have remained in history as such for three centuries is an amusing
commentary upon the value of historical writings in general.

The dinner of Montezuma, witnessed within the five days named by the
Spanish soldiers, comes down to us with a slender proportion of
reliable facts. The accounts of Bernal Diaz and of Cortes form the
basis of all subsequent descriptions [Footnote: The Anonymous
Conqueror does not notice it.]. Montezuma was the central figure
around whom all the others are made to move. A number of men, as
Diaz states, were to be seen in the house and in the courts, going
to and fro; a part of whom were thought to be chiefs in attendance
upon Montezuma, and the remainder were supposed to be guards. Better
proof of the use of guards is needed than the suggestion of Diaz. It
implies a knowledge of military discipline unknown by Indian tribes.
It was noticed that Indians went barefooted into the presence of
Montezuma, which was interpreted as an act of servility and deference,
although bare feet must have been the rule rather than the exception
in Tenochtitlan. Diaz further informs us that "his cooks had upwards
of thirty different ways of dressing meats, and they had earthen
vessels so contrived as to keep them always hot. For the table of
Montezuma himself above three hundred dishes were dressed, and for
his guards above a thousand. Before dinner Montezuma would go out
and inspect the preparations, and his officers would point out to
him which were the best, and explain of what birds and flesh they
were composed, and of these he would eat.... Montezuma was seated on
a low throne or chair at a table proportionate to the height of his
seat. The table was covered with white cloth and napkins, and four
beautiful women presented him with water for his hands in vessels
which they called xicales, with other vessels under them like plates
to catch the water; they also presented him with towels. Then two
other women brought him small cakes of bread, and when the king
began to eat, a large screen of wood-gilt was placed before him, so
that people should not during that time see him. The women having
retired to a little distance, four ancient lords stood by the throne,
to whom Montezuma from time to time spoke or addressed questions,
and as a matter of particular favor gave to each of them a plate of
that which he was eating.... This was served on earthenware of
Cholula, red and black.... I observed a number of jars, about fifty,
brought in filled with foaming chocolate, of which he took some
which the women presented to him. During the time Montezuma was at
dinner, two very beautiful women were busily employed making small
cakes, with eggs and other things mixed therein. These were
delicately white, and when made they presented them to him on plates
covered with napkins. Also another kind of bread was brought to him
in long loaves, and plates of cakes resembling wafers. After he had
dined they presented to him three little canes, highly ornamented,
containing liquid amber mixed with an herb they call tobacco; and
when he had sufficiently viewed the singers, dancers, and buffoons,
he took a little of the smoke of one of these canes and then laid
himself down to sleep; and thus his principal meal concluded. After
this was over, all his guards and domestics sat down to dinner, and
as near as I can judge, above a thousand plates of these eatables
that I have mentioned were laid before them, with vessels of foaming
chocolate, and fruit in immense quantity. For his women and various
inferior servants, his establishment was a prodigious expense, and
we were astonished, amid such a profusion, at the vast regularity
that prevailed." [Footnote: History of the Conquest of Mexico, i,
198-202.] Diaz wrote his history more than thirty years after the
conquest (he says he was writing it in 1568), [Footnote: ib., ii,
423.] which may serve to excuse him for implying the use of
veritable chairs and a table where neither existed, and for
describing the remainder as sitting down to dinner. Tezozomoc, who
is followed by Herrera, says the table of Montezuma consisted of two
skins. How they were fastened together and supported does not appear.

The statements in the Despatches of Cortes, as they now appear, are
an improvement upon Diaz, the pitch being on a higher key. He
remarks that Montezuma "was served in the following manner: Every day,
as soon as it was light, six hundred nobles and men of rank were in
attendance at the palace, who either sat or walked about in the
halls and galleries, and passed their time in conversation, but
without entering the apartment where his person was. The servants
and attendants of these nobles remained in the courtyards, of which
there were two or three of great extent, and in the adjoining street,
which was also very spacious. They all remained in attendance from
morning till night; and when his meals were served, the nobles were
likewise served with equal profusion, and their servants and
secretaries also had their allowance. Daily his larder and
wine-cellar were open to all who wished to eat or drink. The meals
were served by three or four hundred youths, who brought in an
infinite number of dishes; indeed, whenever he dined or supped the
table was loaded with every kind of flesh, fish, fruits and
vegetables that the country produced. As the climate is cold, they
put a chafing-dish with live coals under every plate and dish, to
keep them warm. The meals were served in a large hall in which
Montezuma was accustomed to eat, and the dishes quite filled the room,
which was covered with mats and kept very clean. He sat on a small
cushion, curiously wrought of leather. During the meal there were
present, at a little distance from him, five or six elderly caciques,
to whom he presented some of the food. And there was constantly in
attendance one of the servants, who arranged and handed the dishes,
and who received from others whatever was wanted for the supply of
the table. Both at the beginning and end of every meal, they
furnished water for the hands, and the napkins used on these
occasions were never used a second time, and this was the case also
with the plates and dishes, which were not brought again, but new
ones in place of them; it was the same with the chafing-dishes."
[Footnote: Despatches of Cortes, Folsom's Trans, p. 123]

Since cursive writing was unknown among the Aztecs, the presence of
these secretaries is an amusing feature in the account. The
wine-cellar also is remarkable for two reasons; firstly, because the
level of the streets and courts was but four feet above the level of
the water, which made cellars impossible; and, secondly, because the
Aztecs had no knowledge of wine. An acid beer (pulque), made by
fermenting the juice of the maguey, was a common beverage of the
Aztecs, but it is hardly supposable that even this was used at dinner.
It will he noticed that according to this account the dinner was
served to all at the same time, Montezuma and several chiefs eating
at one end of the room, but no mention is made of the manner in
which the remainder ate. The six hundred men (or less) who remained
about the house and courts during the day, we may well suppose, were,
with their families, joint residents and joint proprietors with
Montezuma of the establishment. Two or three structures are mingled
in these descriptions, which were probably entirely distinct in
their uses.

Herrera gathered up the subsequent growth of the story, which
undoubtedly made a great sensation in Europe as a part of the
picture of life in the New World; and embellished it from sheer
delight in a marvelous tale. The few facts stated by Bernal Diaz,
expressing the interpretation of the Spanish soldiers, were fruitful
seeds planted three hundred years ago, which the imaginations of
enthusiastic authors have developed into a glowing and picturesque
narrative. The principal part of Herrera'a account runs as follows:
"Montezuma did always eat alone, and so great a quantity of meat was
served up to his table, such great variety, and so richly dressed,
that there was sufficient for all the prime men of his household.
His table was a cushion, or two pieces of colored leather; instead
of a chair, a little low stool, made of one piece, the seat hollowed
out, carved and painted in the best manner that could be; the
table-cloth, napkins, and towels of very fine cotton as white as snow,
and never served any more than once, being the fees of the proper
officers. The meat was brought in by four hundred pages, all
gentlemen, sons of lords, and set down together in a hall; the king
went thither, and with a rod, or his hand, pointed to what he liked,
and then the sewer set it upon the chafing-dishes that it might not
be cold; and this he never failed to do, unless the steward at any
time very much recommended to him some particular dishes. Before he
sat down, twenty of the most beautiful women came and brought him
water to wash his hands, and when seated the sewer did shut a wooded
rail that divided the room, lest the nobility that went to see him
dine should encumber the table, and he alone set on and took off the
dishes, for the pages neither came near nor spoke a word. Strict
silence was observed, none daring to speak unless it was some jester,
or the person of whom he asked a question. The sewer was always upon
his knees and barefooted, attending him without lifting up his eyes.
No man with shoes on was to come into the room upon pain of death.
The sewer also gave him drink in a cup of several shapes, sometimes
of gold, and sometimes of silver, sometimes of gourd, and sometimes
of the shells of fishes." [Footnote: Solis, thinking a cocoanut shell
altogether too plain, embellishes the shell with jewels: "He had
cups of gold, and salvers of the same; and sometimes he drank out of
cocoas and natural shells very richly set with jewels."--History of
the Conquest of Mexico, Lond., ed. 1738, Townshend's Trans., I, 417.]

"Six ancient lords attended at a distance, to whom he gave some
dishes of what he liked best, which they did eat there with much
respect. He had always music of flutes, reeds, horns, shells,
kettle-drums, and other instruments, nothing agreeable to the ears
of the Spaniards.... There were always at dinner dwarfs, crooked and
other deformed persons, to provoke laughter, and they did eat of
what was left at the further end of the hall, with the jesters and
buffoons. What remained was given to three thousand Indians, that
were constantly upon guard in the courts and squares, and therefore
there were always three thousand dishes of meat and as many cups of
liquor; the larder and cellar were never shut, by reason of their
continual carrying in and out. In the kitchen they dressed all sorts
of meat that were sold in the market, being a prodigious quantity,
besides what was brought in by hunters, tenants, and tributaries.
The dishes and all utensils were all of good earthenware, and served
the king but once. He had abundance of vessels of gold and silver,
yet made no use of them, because they should not serve twice."
[Footnote: History of America, ii, 336.] Further on, and out of its
place, Herrera gives us what seems to have been a call of the
scattered household to dinner. "When it was dinner-time," he remarks,
"eight or ten men whistled very loud, beating the kettle-drums hard,
as it were to warn those that were to dance after dinner; then the
dancers came, who, to entertain their great sovereign, were all to
be men of quality, clad as richly as they could, with costly
mantles, white, red, green, yellow, and some of several colors."
[Footnote: ib., 443.]

The four women of Diaz who brought water to Montezuma have now
increased to twenty; but, as the Spanish writers claimed a wide
latitude in the matter of numbers, fivefold is not, perhaps,
unreasonable, especially as it did not occur to Herrera that Diaz may,
at the outset, have quadrupled the actual number. The "three or four
hundred youths" who brought in the dinner, according to Cortes,
settle down under Herrera to "four hundred pages, all gentlemen,
sons of lords"; and here we must recognize the discrimination of the
historian in that he found the highest number stated by Cortes fully
adequate to the occasion. Two other things may be noticed: shoes
have disappeared from all Indian feet in the face of a terrific
penalty, and three thousand hungry Indians stand in peaceful quietude,
while their dinner grows cold upon the floor, as Montezuma eats
alone in solitary grandeur. No American Indian could be made to
comprehend this picture. It lacks the realism of Indian life, and
embodies an amount of puerility of which the Indian nature is not
susceptible. Europeans and Americans may rise to the height of the
occasion because their mental range is wider, and their imaginations
have fed more deeply upon nursery tales. Diaz had contented himself
with saying that Montezuma "had two hundred of his nobility on guard
in apartments adjoining his own," [Footnote: History of the Conquest
of Mexico, I, 198.] in whom may be recognized his fellow-householders;
but Cortes generously increased the number to "six hundred nobles
and men of rank," who appeared at daylight and remained in
attendance during the day. Neither number, however, was quite
sufficient to meet the conceptions of the historiographer of Spain,
and accordingly three thousand, all guards, were adopted by Herrera
as a suitable number to give eclat to Montezuma's dinner. If any man
conversant with Indian character could show by what instrumentality
five hundred Indians could be kept together twelve hours in
attendance upon any human being from a sense of duty, he would add
something to our knowledge of the Red Race; and could he prove
further that they had actually waited, in the presence of as many
earthen bowls, smoking with their several dinners, while their
war-chief in the same room was making his repast alone, the verifier
would thereby endow the Indian character with an element of
forbearance he has never since been known to display. The block of
wood hollowed out for a stool or seat may be accepted, for it savors
of the simplicity of Indian art. That the Aztecs had napkins of
coarse texture, woven by hand, is probable; as also that they were
white, because cotton is white.

Imagination might easily expand a napkin into a table-cloth,
provided a table existed to spread it upon; but in this case,
without duly considering the relation between the two, the
table-cloth has been created, but the table refuses to appear. The
napkin business, therefore, seems to have been slightly overdone.
Finally, the call of the scattered household to dinner by
kettle-drums and whistling savors too strongly of Indian ways and
usages to be diverted into a summons to the dancers, as Herrera
suggests. This Aztec dinner-call, on a scale commensurate with a
large communal household, would have been lost to history but for
the special use discerned in it to decorate a tale. It recognizes
the loitering habits of an Aztec household, and perhaps the
irregularity of the dinner-hour.

Passing over the descriptions of Sahagun, Clavigero, and Prescott,
who have kindled into enthusiasm over this dinner of Montezuma,
Mr. Hubert H. Bancroft shall be allowed to furnish us with the very
latest version. "Every day," he remarks, "from sunrise until sunset
the antechambers of Montezuma's palace in Mexico were occupied by
six hundred noblemen and gentlemen, who passed their time lounging
about and discussing the gossip of the day in low tones, for it was
considered disrespectful to speak loudly or make any noise within
the palace limits. They were provided with apartments in the palace,
and took their meals from what remained of the superabundance of the
royal table, as did after them their own servants, of whom each
person of quality was entitled to from one to thirty according to
his rank. These retainers, numbering two or three thousand, filled
several outer courts during the day. The king took his meals alone
in one of the largest halls of the palace.... He was seated upon a
low leather cushion, upon which were thrown various soft skins, and
his table was of a similar description, except that it was larger
and rather higher, and was covered with white cotton cloths of the
finest texture. The dinner-service was of the finest ware of Cholula,
and many of the goblets were of gold and silver, or fashioned with
beautiful shells. He is said to have possessed a complete service of
solid gold, but as it was considered below a king's dignity to use
anything at table twice, Montezuma, with all his extravagance, was
obliged to keep this costly dinner-set in the temple. The bill of
fare comprised everything edible of fish, flesh, and fowl that could
be procured in the empire or imported beyond it. Relays of couriers
were employed in bringing delicacies from afar.... There were
cunning cooks among the Aztecs, and at these extravagant meals there
was almost as much variety in the cookery as in the matter cooked.
Sahagun gives a most formidable list of roast, stewed, and broiled
dishes, of meat, fish, and poultry, seasoned with many kinds of herbs,
of which, however, that most frequently mentioned is chile. He
further describes many kinds of bread, all bearing a more or less
close resemblance to the Mexican tortilla ... then tamales of all
kinds, and many other curious messes, such as frog spawn and stewed
ants, cooked with chile.... Each dish was kept warm on a
chafing-dish placed under it. Writers do not agree as to the exact
quantity of food served up at each meal, but it must have been
immense, since the lowest number of dishes given is three hundred
and the highest three thousand. They were brought into the hall by
four hundred pages of noble birth, who placed their burdens upon the
matted floor and retired noiselessly. The king then pointed out such
viands as he wished to partake of, or left the selection to his
steward, who doubtless took pains to study the likes and dislikes of
the royal palate. The steward was a functionary of the highest rank
and importance; he alone was privileged to place the designated
delicacies before the king upon the table; he appears to have done
duty both as royal carver and cup-bearer; and, according to
Torquemada, to have done it barefooted and on his knees. [Footnote:
The 'cup-bearer' agrees reasonably well with the 'window-curtains.']
Everything being in readiness, a number of the most beautiful of the
king's women entered, bearing water in round vessels called Xicales,
for the king to wash his hands in, and towels that he might dry them,
other vessels being placed upon the ground to catch the drippings.
Two other women at the same time brought him some small loaves of a
very delicate kind of bread, made of the finest maize flour, beaten
up with eggs. This done, a wooden screen, carved and gilt, was
placed before him that no one might see him while eating. There were
always present five or six aged lords, who stood near the royal
chair barefooted and with bowed heads. To these, as a special mark
of favor, the king occasionally sent a choice morsel from his own
plate. During the meal the monarch amused himself by watching the
performances of his jugglers and tumblers, whose marvellous feats of
strength and dexterity I shall describe in another place; at other
times there was dancing, accompanied by singing and music.... The
more solid food was followed by pastry, sweetmeats, and a
magnificent dessert of fruit. The only beverage drank was chocolate,
of which about fifty jars were provided; it was taken with a spoon,
finely wrought of gold or shell, from a goblet of the same material.
Having finished his dinner, the king again washed his hands in water
brought to him, as before, by the women. After this, several painted
and gilt pipes were brought, from which he inhaled, through his
mouth or nose, as best suited him, the smoke of a mixture of liquid
amber and an herb called tobacco. This siesta over, he devoted
himself to business, and proceeded to give audience to foreign
ambassadors or deputations from cities in the empire, and to such of
his lords and ministers as had business to transact with him."
[Footnote: Native Races of the Pacific States, ii, 174-178.]

In this account, although founded upon those of Diaz and Cortes, and
showing nothing essentially new, we have the final growth of the
story to the present time, but without any assurance that the limits
of its possible expansion have been reached. The purification of our
aboriginal history, by casting out the mass of trash with which it
is so heavily freighted, is forced upon us to save American
intelligence from deserved disgrace. Whatever may be said of the
American aborigines in general, or of the Aztecs in particular, they
were endowed with common sense in the matter of their daily food,
which cost them labor, forethought, and care to provide. The picture
of Indian life here presented is simply impossible. Village Indians
in the Middle Status of barbarism were below the age of tables and
chairs for dinner service; neither had they learned to arrange a
dinner to be eaten socially at a common table, or even to share
their dinner with their wives and children. Their joint-tenement
houses, their common stores, their communism in living, and the
separation of the sexes at their meals, are genuine Indian customs
and usages which explain this dinner. It was misconceived by the
Spaniards quite naturally, and with the grotesque results herein
presented; but there is no excuse for continuing this misconception
in the presence of known facts accessible to all.

There is no doubt whatever that Montezuma was treated with great
consideration by all classes of persons. Indians respect and
venerate their chiefs. As their principal war-chief, Montezuma held
the highest official position among them. He is represented as
amiable, generous, and manly, although unnerved by the sudden
appearance and the novel and deadly arms of the Spaniards. He had
charge of the reception and entertainment of Cortes and his men,
who requited him savagely for his hospitality and kindness. But
when his home-life is considered, he fared no better than his
fellow-householders, sharing with them their common dinner. These
accounts, when divested of their misconceptions, render it probable
that Montezuma was living with his gentle kinsmen in a house they
owned in common; and that what the Spaniards saw was a dinner in
common by this household, which, with the women and children, may
have numbered from five hundred to a thousand persons. When the
scattered members of the household had been summoned, the single
daily meal was brought in by a number of persons from the common
cook-house in earthen bowls and dishes, and set down upon the floor
of an apartment used as a place for dinner in the fashion of Indians.
Indians as they were, they doubtless took up these bowls one by one,
each containing the dinner of one person divided at the kettle. They
ate standing, or it may be sitting upon the floor, or upon the
ground in the open court. Indians as they were, the men ate first
and by themselves, and the women and children afterwards. After
dinner was over, they were diverted, probably, with music and dancing,
and made themselves merry, as well-fed Indians are apt to do. That
the same dinner, conducted in a similar manner, occurred at all the
houses in the pueblo, large and small, once a day, there can
scarcely be a doubt.

The dinner of Montezuma which has gone into history, and been read
for three centuries with wonder and admiration, is an excellent
illustration of the slender material out of which American
aboriginal history has been made. It shows, moreover, as a warning,
what results flow from great misconceptions through the constructive
faculty of authors.

A confederacy of three Indian tribes, speaking dialects of the same
language, was precisely what the Spaniards found in Mexico, and this
was all they found. They had no occasion in their accounts to
advance a step beyond this simple fact. A satisfactory explanation
of this confederacy can be found in similar Indian confederacies. It
was a growth from the common institutions of the Indian family.
Underneath these delusive pictures a council of chiefs is revealed,
which was the natural and legitimate instrument of government under
Indian institutions. No other form of government was possible among
them. They had, beside, which was an equally legitimate part of this
system, an elective and deposable war-chief (Teuchtli), the power to
elect and to depose being held by a fixed constituency ever present,
and ready to act when occasion required. The Aztec organization
stood plainly before the Spaniards as a confederacy of Indian tribes.
Nothing but the grossest perversion of obvious facts could have
enabled Spanish writers to fabricate the Aztec monarchy out of a
democratic organization.

Without ascertaining the unit of their social system, if organized
in gentes, as they probably were, and without gaining any knowledge
of the organization that did exist, they boldly invented for the
Aztecs a monarchy, with high feudal characteristics, out of the
reception of Cortes by their principal war-chief, and such other
flimsy materials as Montezuma's dinner. This misconception has stood,
through American indolence, quite as long as it deserves to stand.

Since the foregoing was written, the investigations of Mr.
Bandelier "On the Social Organization and Mode of Government of the
Ancient Mexicans" have been published. With the new light thus
thrown upon the subject, this chapter should have been re-written.
He shows that the Aztecs were composed of twenty gentes or clans.
"The existence of twenty autonomous consanguine groups is thus
revealed, and we find them again at the time of the conquest, while
their last vestiges were perpetuated until after 1690, when Fray
Augustin de Vetancurt mentions four chief quarters with their
original Indian names, comprising and subdivided into twenty
'barrios'. Now the Spanish word 'barrio' is equivalent to the
Mexican term 'calpulli.' Both indicate the kin, localized and
settled with the view to permanence." [Footnote: Twelfth Annual
Report of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge,
1880, p. 591.]

This organization, as was to have been expected, lies at the
foundation of their social system. He names the following as among
the rights, duties, and obligations of the kinship:

I. The kin claimed the right to name its members.

II. It was the duty of the kin to educate or train its members to
every branch of public life.

III. The kin had the right to regulate and to control marriage.

IV. It was one of the attributes of the kin to enjoy common burial.

V. The right of the kin to 'separate worship' appears not only
established within the kin's territory, but it is also recognized
even at the central medicine-lodge of the tribe.

VI. The kin was obligated to protect and defend the persons and
property of its members, and to resent and punish any injury done to
them, as if it were a crime committed against the kin itself.

VII. The kin had the right to elect its officers, as well as the
right to remove or depose them for misbehavior.

[Footnote: Twelfth Ann. Rept. Peabody Museum, pp. 615-638.]

He also regards the four "brotherhoods" who occupied the four
quarters of the pueblo as probably phratries. [Footnote: ib., p. 584.]
He also shows that the government was under the control of a council,
Tlatocan, composed of a body of chiefs. [Footnote: ib., p. 646, et

One of the most interesting results of this investigation is the
discovery of a class of persons unattached to any gens, "outcasts
from the bond of kinship." [Footnote: ib., p. 608, et seq.] Such a
class grows up in every gentile society, when as far advanced as the
Aztecs were. It finds its analogue in the Roman Plebeians. This
remarkable essay will abundantly repay a careful study.

When we have learned to speak of the American Indians in language
adapted to Indian life and Indian institutions, they will become
comprehensible. So long as we apply to their social organizations
and domestic institutions terms adapted to the organizations and to
the institutions of civilized society, we caricature the Indians and
deceive ourselves. There was neither a political society, nor a state,
nor any civilization in America when it was discovered; and,
excluding the Eskimos, but one race of Indians, the Red Race.

[Relocated Footnote 1: In the Despatches of Cortes the term King
"El rey" is not used in speaking of Montezuma, but Senhor and cacique.

The Valley of Mexico, including the adjacent mountain slopes and
excluding the area covered by water, was about equal to the State at
Rhode Island, which contains thirteen hundred square miles; an
insignificant area for a single American Indian tribe. But the
confederacy had subdued a number of tribes southward and
southeastward from the valley as far as Guatemala, and placed them
under tribute. Under their plan of government it was impossible to
incorporate these tribes in the Aztec confederacy; the barrier of
language furnished an insuperable objection; and they were left to
govern themselves through their own chiefs, and according to their
own usages and customs. As they were neither under Aztec government
nor Aztec usages, there is no occasion to speak of them as a part of
the Aztec confederacy or even as an appendage of its government. The
power of the confederacy did not extend a hundred miles beyond the
Pueblo of Mexico on the west, northwest, north, northeast, or east
sides, in each of which directions they were confronted by
independent and hostile tribes.

The population of the three confederate tribes was confined to the
valley, and did not probably exceed two hundred and fifty thousand
souls, including the Moquiltes, Xochomileos, and Chaleans, if it
equaled that number, which would give nearly twice the present
population of New York to the square mile, and a greater population
to the square mile than Rhode Island now contains. The Spanish
estimates of Indian populations were gross exaggerations. Those who
claim a greater population for the Valley of Mexico than that
indicated will be bound to show how a barbarous people, without
flocks and herds and without field agriculture, could have sustained
in equal areas a larger number of inhabitants than a civilized
people armed with these advantages.]

[Relocated Footnote 2: My learned friend, Mr. Ad. F. Bandelier, of
Highland, Ill., has arrived at the same conclusion, substantially,
as stated in the conclusion of his recent "Memoir on the Social
Organization and Mode of Government of the Ancient Mexicans," 12th
Annual Report of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and
Ethnology. Cambridge, 1880, p. 699.

"Taking all this together, and adding it to the results of our
investigations into the military organization of the ancient Mexicans,
as well as of their communal mode of holding and enjoying the soil,
we feel authorized to conclude that the social organization and mode
of government of the ancient Mexicans was a military democracy,
originally based upon communism in living."]



At the epoch of their discovery, Yucatan, Chiapas, and Guatemala
were probably more thickly peopled than any other portion of North
America of equal area; and their inhabitants were more advanced than
the remaining aborigines. Their pueblos were planted along the
rivers and streams, often quite near each other, and presented the
same picture of occupation and of village life which might have been
seen at the same time in the valley of the Rio Grande, of the Rio
Chaco, and probably of the San Juan, and, at a still earlier period,
of the Scioto. They consisted of a single great house, or of a
cluster of houses near each other, forming one pueblo or village. In
some cases, four or more structures were grouped together upon the
same elevated platform; and where there were several of these
platforms, each surmounted with one or more edifices, one of them
was devoted to religious, and a portion of another to social and
public uses. But there is no reason for supposing, from any ruins
yet found, or from what is known of the people historically, that
any one pueblo contained, at most, ten thousand inhabitants. No one
tribe, or confederacy of tribes, had risen to supremacy within
either of these areas by the consolidation of surrounding tribes.
They were found, on the contrary, in the same state of subdivision
and independence which invariably accompanies the gentile
organization. Confederacies in all probability existed among such
contiguous pueblos as spoke the same dialect, as the Cibolans were
probably confederated, and as the Aztecs, Tezcucans, and Tlacopans
are known to have been. Such confederacies, however, could not have
reached beyond a common language of the tribes confederated.

The great houses of stone of the Village Indians within the areas
named, and particularly in Yucatan and Central America, have done
more than all other considerations to give to them their present
position in the estimation of mankind. They are the highest
constructive works of the Indian tribes. It may also be again
suggested that, from the beginning, a false interpretation has been
put upon this architecture, from a failure to understand its object
and uses, or the condition and plan of domestic life of the people
who occupied these structures. The design and object for which these
edifices were constructed still await an intelligent explanation.

The highest type of architecture which then existed among the
aborigines in any part of America was found in the regions named;
particularly in Yucatan, Chiapas, and Honduras. Speaking of Yucatan,
Herrera remarks that "the language is everywhere the same," the Maya
being the language of its principal tribes, but "the whole country,"
he continues, "is divided into eighteen districts." [Footnote:
History of America, l. c., iv, 161.]

If this reference is to a classification by tribes, it shows that
the Mayas had fallen, by the process of segmentation, into this
number of independent groups; the pueblos in each district being
united under one government for mutual defense. It seems probable,
however, that the group was smaller than a tribe. It is difficult in
some cases to determine, from Herrera's language, whether he refers
to native or Spanish divisions. In like manner, speaking of Chiapas,
he remarks, that "this province is divided into four nations of
different languages, which are the Chiapanecans, the Toques, the
Zelsales, and the Quelenes, all of which differ in some particulars....
There are in it twenty-five towns, the chief of them called Tecpatlan,
i.e., (among the Toques).... The nation of Zelsales has thirteen
towns.... the Quelnes have twenty-five towns." [Footnote: ib., iv,

Sixty-three pueblos in three of the four tribes who occupied the
small territory of Chiapas is a very large number, except on the
supposition that each pueblo consisted usually of a single great
house, like those in New Mexico, which is probable; but even then it
seems excessive. It tends, however, to show the mode of occupation
and settlement of the Village Indians in general. They planted their
pueblos on the water-courses, where such existed, each tribe or
subdivision of a tribe gathering in a cluster of houses, four or
five in number, or in a single house; and, as may he inferred from
the descriptions of Las Casas, so near together on the same rivulet
that had not the native forest obstructed the view they would have
been in sight of each other for miles along its banks. The scattered
ruins of these pueblos in Yucatan at the present time, often
consisting of a single large structure, confirms this view.

The tropical region of Yucatan and Central America, then as now, was
undoubtedly covered with forests, except the limited clearings
around the pueblos, and, apart from these pueblos, substantially
uninhabited. Field agriculture was of course unknown, as they had
neither domestic animals nor plows; but the Indians cultivated maize,
beans, squashes, pepper, cotton, cacao, and tobacco in garden beds,
and exercised some care over certain native fruits; cultivation
tending to localize them in villages. Herrera remarks of the Village
Indians of Honduras that "they sow thrice a year, and they were wont
to grub up great woods with hatchets made of flint." [Footnote:
History of America, iv., 133.]

Without metallic implements to subdue the forest, or even with
copper axes, such as were found among the Aztecs, a very small
portion only of the country would have been brought under cultivation,
and that confined mainly to the margins of the streams.

Las Casas, bishop of Chiapas, who was in Yucatan and Chiapas about
1539, after remarking of the people of the former country that they
were "better civilized in morals and in what belongs to the good
order of societies than the rest of the Indians," proceeds as,
follows: "The pretence of subjecting the Indians to the government
of Spain is only made to carry on the design of subjecting them to
the dominion of private men, who make them all their slaves".
[Footnote: An Account of the First Voyages, etc., in America, Lond.
ed., Trans., p. 52.]

And, again, he quotes from a letter of the bishop of St. Martha to
the King of Spain, to this effect: "To redress the grievances of
this province, it ought to be delivered from the tyranny of those
who ravage it, and committed to the care of persons of integrity,
who will treat the inhabitants with more kindness and humanity; for
if it be left to the mercy of the governors, who commit all sorts of
outrages with impunity, the province will be destroyed in a very
short time." [Footnote: ib., p. 61.]

There are two material questions which require priority of
consideration: First, whether or not the houses now in ruins in
Yucatan and Central America were occupied at the time of the Spanish
conquest; and, second, whether or not the present Indians of the
country are the descendants of the people who constructed them.
There is no basis whatever for the negative of either proposition;
but it is assumed by those who regard the so-called palace at
Palenque and the Governor's House at Uxmal as the ancient residences
of Indian potentates that great cities which once surrounded them
have perished, and, further, that these ruins have an antiquity
reaching far back of the Spanish conquest.

Mr. Stephens adopts the conclusion "that at the time of the conquest,
and afterwards, the Indians were living in and occupied these very
cities." [Footnote: Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, ii, 348, 375.]

He also regarded the present Indians of the country as the
descendants of those in possession at the time of the conquest. He
might have added that as the Maya was the language of the aborigines
of Yucatan at the epoch of the discovery, and is now the language of
the greater part of the natives who have not lost their original
speech, there was no ground for either supposition. Herrera remarks
of the inhabitants of Yucatan, that the "people were then found
living together very politely in towns, kept very clean ... and the
reason of their living so close together was because of the wars
which exposed them to the danger of being taken, sold, and sacrificed;
but the wars of the Spaniards made them disperse." [Footnote:
History of America, iv, 168.] This last statement is very significant.
Mr. Stephens, whose works and whose observations are in the main so
valuable, is responsible to no small extent for the delusive
inferences which have been drawn from the architecture of Yucatan,
Honduras, and Chiapas. If he had repressed his imagination and
confined himself to what he found, namely, certain Indian pueblos
built of dressed stone, and in good architecture, which are
sufficiently remarkable just as they are, in ruins, and had omitted
altogether such terms as "palaces" and great cities, his readers
would have escaped the deceptive conclusions with respect to the
actual condition of society among the aborigines which his
terminology and mode of treatment were certain to suggest.

It is sufficiently ascertained that within a few years after the
conquest of Mexico, Yucatan and Central America were overrun by
military adventurers whose rapacity and violence drove the harmless
and timid Village Indians from their pueblos into the forests; thus
destroying in a few years a higher culture than the Spaniards were
able to substitute in its place. Nothing can be plainer, I think,
than this additional fact, that all there ever was of Palenque, Uxmal,
Copan, and other Indian pueblos in these areas, building for
building and stone for stone, is there now in ruins.

There are reasons for believing, from the more advanced condition of
their house architecture, that Yucatan was inhabited by Village
Indians from an earlier, and for a much longer, period than the
valley of Mexico. The traditions of the Yzaes of Chichenisa,
possibly Chichen Itza, and of the Cocomes of Mayapan, related by
Herrera, [Footnote: History of America, iv, 162, 163, 165.] claim a
more ancient occupation of Yucatan than the Aztec traditions claim
for the occupation of the valley of Mexico. The type of village life
among the American aborigines was adapted to a warm climate, and
presented in this area its highest exemplification.

The notices of the great houses in Yucatan are brief and general in
the Spanish histories. Speaking of its eighteen districts, Herrera
remarks that "in all of them were so many, and such stately stone
buildings, that it was amazing, and the greatest wonder is, that
having no use of any metal, they were able to raise such structures,
which seem to have been temples, for their houses were always of
timber and thatched." [Footnote: ib., iv, 162.]

This last statement is not only at variance with a previous one
quoted above, but is another of the numerous misconceptions which
impair so greatly the value of the Spanish histories. The people
undoubtedly resided in these houses, which were adapted to such a
use only, and were also in the nature of fortresses, thus proving
the insecurity in which they lived. Some portion of the tribe may
have resided in inferior and common habitations in the vicinity of
these pueblos, and under their protection; but the great houses of
stone were built for residences and not for temples, and were the
homes of the body of the people. There were many of these pueblos,
nearly all of them composed of one or two large structures,
sprinkled over the face of the country in eligible situations after
the manner of Village Indian life. The same adaptation to communism
in living in large households is found impressed upon all the houses
now in ruins in these areas. They are joint-tenement houses of the
American type, and very similar to those still found in New Mexico
and on the San Juan. At the epoch of the Spanish conquest, they were
occupied pueblos, and were deserted by the Indians to escape the
rapacity of Spanish military adventurers by whom they were oppressed
and abused beyond Indian endurance. Instances are mentioned by
Herrera where large numbers destroyed themselves to escape the
exactions of Spanish masters, whom they were unable to resist.
[Footnote: History of America, III, 346.]

The numerous pueblos in ruins scattered through the forests of
Yucatan and southward are so many monuments of Spanish misrule,
oppression, and rapacity.

The most extensive group of ruins in Yucatan is that at Uxmal. Its
several structures are known as the "Governor's House"; the
"House of the Nuns," which consists of four disconnected buildings,
facing the four sides of a court; the "House of the Pigeons,"
consisting of two quadrangles; the "House of the Turtles"; the
"House of the Old Woman"; and the "House of the Dwarf", with some
trace of smaller buildings of inconsiderable size, and one or two
pyramidal elevations unoccupied by structures. Of these, the
"Governor's House" may have been the Tecan, or Official House of the
Tribe, from the unusual size of the central rooms The "House of
the Dwarf" was probably designed for the observance of religious
rites. The remaining structures were evidently the residence
portions of the pueblo.

Among the Aztecs, three kinds of houses were distinguished: 1. Calli,
the ordinary dwelling house, of which the "House of the Nuns" is an
example. 2. Ticplantlacalk, the "Stone House," which contained
council halls, etc., of which the "Governor's House" is an example. 3.
Teocalli, "House of God," such as the "House of the Dwarf." The
estufas in New Mexican pueblos took the place of the last two in
Mexico and Yucatan.

Ground plans of the principal structures will be given for
comparison with those in New Mexico. The pyramidal elevations on
which they stand are situated quite near each other, and form one
Indian pueblo. The houses are constructed of stone laid in courses,
and dressed to a uniform surface, with the upper half of the
exterior walls decorated with grotesque ornaments cut on the faces
of the stone. Foster states that "these structures are composed of a
soft coralline limestone of comparatively recent geological formation,
probably of the Tertiary period." [Footnote: Prehistoric Races of
the United States, p 398]

The so-called idols at Copan are the largest stones worked by the
Central Americans. They are about eleven feet high by three feet
wide and three feet deep, each face being covered with sculptures
and hieroglyphics. In a field near the ruins, and near each other,
are nine of these elaborately ornamented statues. By the side of
each is a so called altar, about six feet square and four feet high,
made of separate stone. These Idols and Altars have been supposed to
have some relation to their religious system, with human sacrifices
in the background. From their situation and character it may be
conjectured that we have here the Copan cemetery, and that these
idols are the grave-posts, and these altars are the graves of Copan
chiefs. The type of both may still be seen in Nebraska in the
grave-posts and grave-mounds by their side, of Iowas and Otoes, and
formerly in all parts of the United States east of the Mississippi.
If Mr. Stephens had opened one of these altars he would, if this
conjecture is well taken, have found within or under it an Indian
grave, and perhaps a skeleton, with the personal articles usually
entombed beside the dead. It was customary among the Northern
Indians for the chosen friend of the decedent, with whom he formed
this peculiar tie, to erect his grave-post, representing the chief
exploits of the departed upon one side, with ideographs and his own
upon the opposite side. "The stone," Mr. Stephens observes,
"of which all these altars and statues are made, is a soft grit-stone."
[Footnote: Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, 1-153.] Norman had
previously described the material used as a "fine concrete limestone."
[Footnote: Rambles in Yucatan, p 126.]

Elsewhere, with respect to the nature of the tools for cutting this
stone, he remarks that "flint was undoubtedly used." [Footnote: ib.,
p 184] Stephens makes a similar statement. The exact size of the
stones used is not given, but they were not large. Norman remarks of
Chichen Itza that "the stones are cut in parallelopipeds of about
twelve inches in length and six in breadth, the interstices filled
up with the same materials of which the terraces are composed."
[Footnote: Rambles in Yucatan p 127] He also speaks of "huge blocks
of hewn stone used in the doorways." [Footnote: ib. p. 128]

A soft coralline limestone could be easily worked with flint
implements when first taken from the quarry, and would harden after
exposure to the air. The size and nature of the stones used is some
evidence of limited advancement in solid stone architecture.

These structures, as reproduced in engravings by Stephens and
Catherwood, may well excite surprise and admiration for the taste,
skill, and industry they display, and the degree of progress they
reveal. When rightly understood, they will enable us to estimate the
extent of the progress actually made, which was truly remarkable for
a people still in barbarism, and no further advanced than the Middle

[Illustration: Side elevation of pyramidal platform of Governor's

We have seen that the style of architecture in New Mexico brought
the Indians to the house tops as the common place of living. At
first suggested for security, it became in time a settled habit of
life. The same want was met in Yucatan and Chiapas by a new
expedient namely a pyramidal platform or elevation of earth twenty,
thirty and forty feet high upon the level summits of which their
great houses were erected. These platforms were made still higher
for small buildings. A natural elevation being when practicable
selected the top was leveled or raised by artificial means, the
sides made rectangular and sloping and faced on the four sides with
a dry stone wall, the ascent being made by a flight of stone steps.
It was not uncommon to find two such platforms and sometimes three,
one above the other, as shown in the figure. These platforms, called
terraces, were the gathering and the lounging places, of the

The edifices in the regions named are almost invariably but one
story high, and but two rooms deep, the walls being carried up
vertically to an equal height on the sides and ends, and terminating
in a flat roof. The doorways opened upon the platform area or
terrace when the building was single, and where it was carried
around the four aides of an inclosed court they opened usually upon
the court. As their elevation above the level of the surrounding
area invested them with the character of fortresses, they were
defended on the line or edge of the terrace-walls, or, rather, at
the head of the flight of steps by means of which the summit-level
was reached. Neither adobe brick, nor rubble masonry, nor timber
roofs could withstand the tropical climate, with its pouring rains
during a portion of the year. Stone walls and a vaulted ceiling were
indispensable to a permanent structure. There were, doubtless,
pueblos of timber-framed houses with thatched roofs here and there
in Yucatan, Chiapas, and Honduras, as there were further south
toward the Isthmus; but the prevailing material used was stone, as
the number of small pueblos in ruins still attest. Upon these
elevated platforms they enjoyed the same security as the Village
Indians of New Mexico upon their roof-tops and within the walls of
their houses. They were also raised above the flight of the
mosquitoes and flies, the scourge of this hot region. Considering
the surrounding conditions, single-storied houses upon raised
platforms was a natural suggestion, harmonizing with a style of
architecture, the communal character of which was predetermined by
their social condition. For the details of this architecture
reference must be made to published works, which are easily
accessible, its general features and the principles from which they
sprang being the only subjects within the scope of this inquiry.

The front elevation of the Governor's House at Uxmal, shown in the
engraving, and which was taken from Stephens' work, will answer as a
sample of the whole. It stands upon the upper of three platforms, of
which the lowest is five hundred and seventy-five feet long, fifteen
feet broad to the base of the middle platform, and three feet high.
The second is five hundred and forty-five feet long, two hundred and
fifty feet broad to the base of the upper platform, and twenty feet
high. The third is three hundred and sixty feet long, thirty feet
broad in front of the edifice, and nineteen feet high. The upper one
is formed upon the back half of the middle platform, of which last
Mr. Stephens observes that "this great terrace was not entirely
artificial. The substratum was a natural rock, and showed that
advantage had been taken of a natural elevation as far as it went,
and by this means some portion of the immense labor of constructing
the terrace had been saved." [Footnote: Incidents of Travel in
Yucatan, i, 128.]

The three terraces with their sloping walls are shown in the
engraving, the house standing upon an elevation forty-two feet above
the surrounding area. The ascent from terrace to terrace was made by
flights of stone steps, which are not distinctly shown. When newly
constructed and inhabited, this structure, from its commanding
situation, its great size, and conspicuous terraces, must have
presented a striking appearance. It is doubtful whether any of the
Aryan tribes, when in the Middle Status of barbarism, have produced
houses superior to those in Yucatan.

The house is symmetrical in structure, three hundred and twenty-two
feet long, thirty-nine feet deep, and about twenty-five feet high.
It has eleven doorways, besides two small openings in front, and
contains twenty-two apartments, two of which are each sixty feet long.
The rear wall is solid, and in the central part is nine feet thick.
A parallel wall through the center divides the interior into two
rows of apartments, of which those in front are eleven feet six
inches deep and twenty-three feet high to the top of the arch, and
those back of them are thirteen feet deep and twenty-two feet high.
Both inside and out the walls are of dressed stone laid in courses.
No drawings of the rooms in the Governor's House are furnished in
Mr. Stephens' work. The back rooms are dark, excepting the light
received through the front doorway.

"The House of the Nuns," says Mr. Stephens, "is quadrangular, with a
court yard in the center. It stands on the highest of three terraces.
The lowest is three feet high and twenty feet wide; the second,
twelve feet high and forty-five feet wide; and the third, four feet
high and five feet wide, extending the whole length of the front of
the building. The front [building] is two hundred and seventy-nine
feet long, and above the cornice, from one end to the other, is
ornamented with sculpture. In the centre is a gateway ten feet eight
inches wide, spanned by the triangular arch, and leading to the
courtyard. On each side of this gateway are four doorways with
wooden lintels opening to apartments averaging twenty four feet long,
ten feet wide, seventeen feet high to the top of the arch, but
having no connection with each other. The building that forms the
right or eastern side of the quadrangle measures one hundred and
fifty-eight feet long; that on the left is one hundred and
seventy-three feet long, and the range opposite, or at the end of
the quadrangle measures two hundred and sixty-four feet. These three
ranges have no doorways outside but the exterior of each is a dead
wall, and above the cornice all are ornamented with the same rich
and elaborate sculptures." [Footnote: Incidents of travel in Yucatan,
i, 299.]

[Illustration: Fig. 53.--Ground plan of the House of the Nuns.]

Altogether, these four structures contain seventy-six apartments,
which vary in size from twenty to thirty feet long, and from ten to
twelve feet wide. There are twenty single apartments, and twenty
five pairs of apartments, half of which, as in the Governor's House,
are dark, except as they are lighted from the doorways connecting
with the rooms in front. In the fifth structure, not described,
there are six pairs of similar apartments. In the building on the
right there are six rooms connecting with each other, one of which,
the frost room, is shown in Fig. 54. This number of connecting rooms
is so unusual in Yucatan architecture as to attract attention. Each
of the four edifices would accommodate from six hundred to one
thousand persons, after the fashion of Village Indians.

In this view of the interior of a room in the House of the Nuns, Fig.
54, which was taken from Stephens' work, is shown the form of the
triangular ceiling common in all the edifices in Yucatan and Chiapas.
It is a triangular arch above the line of the exterior cornice,
without a keystone, and with the faces of the stones beveled, and
forming a perfect vault over each apartment. But it has this
peculiarity, that a space a foot or more wide in the center is
carried up vertically about two feet, and covered with a cap of stone,
so that the side walls which form the vaulted ceiling do not come
together so as to rest against each other. The mechanical principle
is the same as in the New Mexican arch, but is here applied in a
more extended and more difficult scale. It is the most remarkable
feature in this architecture, mechanically considered. When we come
to know that this vaulted ceiling was constructed over a core of
solid masonry within the chamber, afterwards removed--which was the
fact--it will be seen that these Indian masons and architects were
still feeling their way experimentally to a scientific knowledge of
the art of arts. A projecting cornice or median entablature is seen
above the doorway on the exterior face of the wall, which balances
somewhat the interior inward projection of the ceiling as it rises,
and, since the wall is carried up flush with the cornice, the
down-weight of the super-incumbent mass sustained the masonry. The
room shown is thirty-three feet long, thirteen wide, and
twenty-three feet high to the cap-stone, and the room communicating
with it is of the same width, and nine feet long. The apartments
back of these are of corresponding size. [Footnote: Incidents of
Travel, etc., i, 308.]

There were originally lintels of hard sapote wood over the doorways,
upon the decay of which a portion of the masonry has fallen. Those
over the doorways through the partition walls are found in place.
The proof of the comparatively modern date of these structures is
conclusive from these facts alone.

It will be observed that there are six single apartments in the
building on the right of the "House of Nuns" which have no
connection with the remaining rooms of the building, and that the
others are in pairs, a back room connecting with the one in front,
and neither with any others. It seems to show very plainly, in the
plan of the house itself, that it was designed to be occupied by
distinct groups composed of related families, each group a large
household by itself. If the communal principle in living existed in
fact among them, its expression in the interior arrangement of the
house, and in this form, might have been expected. This striking and
significant feature runs through all the structures, in these areas,
of which ground-plans have been obtained.

The triangular ceiling, in effect is an attempt to extend the lintel
in sections across the vault of a chamber in the place of joists, and,
so far as the writer is aware, the only attempt ever made by any
barbarous people to form a ceiling of stone over ordinary residence
rooms. In a wall and ceiling formed in this manner, and carried up
several feet above the apex of the triangular arch, there would be
no lateral thrust outward of the masonry.

It should be stated that there are neither fire-place, chimneys, nor
windows in any of these houses; neither have any been found, so far
as the writer is aware, in any ancient structure in Yucatan or
Central America. Fires were not needed for warmth; but since they
were for cooking, it shows very plainly that no cooking was done
within these houses. A presumption at once arises that their inmates
prepared their food in the open court, or on the middle terrace, by
household groups, making a common stock of their provisions, and
dividing from the earthen cauldron, like the Iroquois. The
communistic character of these houses is shown by their great size,
and by the separation of the rooms, generally in pairs, having no
connection with the remainder of the house. Each pair of rooms would
accommodate several married pairs with their children; and so would
each single apartment, according to the mode of life of the Village
Indians. Moreover, communism in living appears to have been a law of
man's condition both in the Lower and in the Middle Status of
barbarism. Among the Iroquois, one regular meal each day was all
their mode of life permitted; hunger being allayed by hominy kept
constantly prepared, or such other food as their domestic resources
allowed. It is not probable that the Aborigines of Yucatan were able
to superadd either a regular breakfast or a supper. These belong to
the more highly developed house-keeping of the monogamian family in

Another custom, usual in the Lower Status of barbarism, seems to
have been continued in the Middle Status; namely, of the men eating
first and by themselves, and the women and children afterwards.
Without a knowledge of tables or of chairs, the dinner was of
necessity a solitary affair between the person and his earthen bowl
or platter. The time, however, for the dinner was the same to all
the men, and afterwards to the women and children. Herrera, in his
summary of the habits of the people of Yucatan, drops the remark
incidentally, that at their festivals the women "did eat apart from
the men." This is precisely what would have been expected had
nothing been said on the subject. [Footnote: History of America, iv,

There are some proofs bearing directly upon the question of the
ancient practice of communism in these Uxmal houses. They are found
in the present usages of the Maya Indians of Yucatan, the
descendants of the builders of these houses, which they may
reasonably be supposed to have derived from their ancestors. At
Nohcacab, a short distance east of the ruins of Uxmal, there was a
settlement of Maya Indians, whose communism in living was
accidentally discovered by Mr. Stephens, when among them to employ
laborers. He remarks as follows: "Their community consists of a
hundred labradores or working men; their lands are held in common,
and the products are shared by all. Their food is prepared at one hut,
and every family sends for its portion; which explains a singular
spectacle we had seen on our arrival [in 1841], a procession of
women and children, each carrying an earthen bowl containing a
quantity of smoking hot broth, all coming down the same road, and
dispersing among different huts.... From our ignorance of the
language, and the number of other and more pressing matters claiming
our attention, we could not learn all the details of their internal
economy but it seemed to approximate that improved state of
association which is sometimes heard of among us; and as thus has
existed for an unknown length of time, and can no longer be
considered experimental, Owen and Fourier might perhaps take lessons
from them with advantage.... I never before regretted so much my
ignorance of the Maya language." [Footnote: Incidents of Travel, etc.,
ii, 14.]

A hundred working men indicate a total of five hundred persons who
were then depending for their daily food upon a single fire, and a
single cooking-house, the provisions being supplied from common
stores, and divided from the kettle. It is not unlikely a truthful
picture of the mode of life in the House of the Nuns, and in the
Governor's House at the period of European discovery. Each group
practising communism, for convenience and for economy, may have
included all the inmates of a single house, or its occupants may
have subdivided into lesser groups; but the presumption is in favor
of the larger. Evidence has elsewhere been adduced of the existence
of the organization into gentes among the Mayas, with descent in the
male line, from which it may be inferred that the occupation of
these houses was on the basis of gentile kinship among the families
in each, the fathers and their children belonging to the same gens,
and the wives and mothers to other gentes. All the facts seem to
indicate that communism in living was practiced among the Village
Indians in general upon a scale then unknown in other parts of the
world, because they alone represented the culture and mode of life
of the Middle Status of barbarism. The dinner of Montezuma, before
considered, is an illustration.

[Illustration: Fig. 55.--Ground Plan of Zayi.]

Near Uxmal are the interesting ruins of Zayi, which present a new
feature in Yucatan house architecture. Upon a low eminence are three
independent structures, the second within and above the first or
lowest, and the third within and above the second, presenting the
appearance, in the distance, of a single quadrangular edifice in
three receding stories. But each stands on a separate terrace, and
is built against the one within, which rises above it, except the
inner one, a single edifice occupying the summit. The outer
quadrangle stands on the lowest terrace. The measurements of the
several buildings are indicated on the plan. Together they contain
eighty-seven apartments, assuming the parts in ruins to have
corresponded with the parts preserved. The rooms, as usual, are
either single or in pairs. An external staircase upon the front and
rear sides interrupts the buildings on these sides from the lower
terrace to the upper. The dots in the apertures indicate columns,
which are found in this and several other structures. In case of
attack, the outer quadrangle was not defensible; but its inhabitants
could retire to the second terrace above, and defend their fortress
at the head of the staircases, which were the only avenues of
approach except by scaling the outer quadrangle, a very improbable

[Illustration: Fig. 56.--Cross-section through one apartment.]

Attention has been called to this pueblo, which would accommodate
two thousand or more persons, for a special reason. It seems to
furnish conclusive proof of the manner in which these great edifices
were erected in order to construct the peculiar triangular stone
ceiling, which is the striking characteristic of this architecture.

To understand the problem, the annexed cross-section of a single
room will afford some aid by showing the relations of the walls to
the chamber and its ceiling. The chamber, with its vaulted ceiling,
was constructed over a solid core of masonry, laid simultaneously
with the walls, which was removed after the latter had seasoned and
settled. It tends to show that with small stones of the size used,
about a foot long and six inches thick, the triangular ceiling as it
projected toward the center in rising, required the interior support
of a core to insure the possibility of construction by their methods.
Once put together over such a core and carried up several feet above
the top of the arch, the down weight of the superincumbent mass
would articulate and hold the masonry together. It shows further
that the essential feature of the arch is wanting in this contrivance.

The proof of this assertion is found in the actual presence of the
unremoved core in one of these edifices in all of its apartments.
Mr. Stephens found every room of the back building on the second
terrace filled with masonry from bottom to top, left precisely as it
was when the building was finished. He remarks that "the north half
of the second range has a curious and unaccountable feature. It is
called the Casa Cerrada, or 'closed house,' having ten doorways, all
of which are blocked up on the inside with stone and mortar.... In
front of several were piles of stones which they [his workmen] had
worked out from the doorways, and under the lintels were holes
through which we were able to crawl inside; and here we found
ourselves in apartments finished with walls and ceilings like all
the others, but filled up, except so far as they had been emptied by
the Indians, with solid masses of mortar and stone. There were ten
of these apartments in all, two hundred and twenty feet long and ten
feet deep, which thus being filled up made the whole building a
solid mass; and the strangest feature was that the filling up of the
apartments must have been simultaneous with the erection of the
buildings; for, as the filling in rose above the tops of the doorways,
the men who performed it never could have entered to their work
through the doors. It must have been done as the walls were built,
and the ceiling must have closed over a solid mass." [Incidents of
Travel, etc., ii, 22.]

It does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Stephens that the masonry
within each room was a core, without which a vaulted chamber in this
form could not have been constructed with their knowledge of the art
of building. It shows the rudeness of their mechanical resources as
well as the real condition of the art among them, but at the same
time increases our appreciation of their originality, ingenuity, and
industry. They were working their way upward experimentally in
architecture, as all other peoples have done, having richly earned
the right to point with pride to these structures as extraordinary
memorials of the progress they had made.

An important conclusion follows, namely, that this "closed house"
was the last, in the order of time, erected in this pueblo, and had
not been emptied of its core and brought into use when the Spanish
irruption forced the people to abandon this pueblo. It would fix the
period of its construction at or after A. D. 1520, thus settling the
question of its modern date and removing one of the delusions
concerning the antiquity of the ruins in Yucatan and Central America.
This structure is as much decayed as any other in Yucatan. There are
many other structures even better preserved than this.

A brief reference to Palenque will conclude this notice, but without
dealing with the facts as fully as they deserve. There are four or
five pyramidal elevations at this pueblo quite similar in plan and
general situation with those at Uxmal. One is much the largest, and
the structures upon it are called the "Palace." It has generally
been regarded as the paragon of American Indian architecture. As a
palace implies a potentate for its occupation, a character who never
existed and could not exist under their institutions, it has been a
means of self-deception with respect to the condition of the
Aborigines which ought to be permanently discarded. Several distinct
buildings are here grouped upon one elevated terrace, and are more
or less connected. Altogether they are two hundred and twenty-eight
feet long, front and rear, and one hundred and eighty feet deep,
occupying not only the four sides of a quadrangle, but the greater
part of what originally was, in all probability, an open court. The
use of the interior court for additional structures shows a
decadence of architecture and of ethnic life in the people, because
it implies an unwillingness to raise a new pyramidal site to gain
accommodations for an increased number of people. Thus to
appropriate the original court so essential for light and air as
well as room, and which is such a striking feature in the general
plan of the architecture of the Village Indians, was a departure
from the principles of this architecture. Nearly all the edifices in
Yucatan and Central America agree in one particular, namely, in
being constructed with three parallel walls with partition walls at
intervals, giving two rows of apartments under one roof, usually, if
not invariably, flat. Where several are grouped together on the same
platform, as at Palenque, they are severally under independent roofs,
and the spaces between, called courts, are simply open lanes or
passageways between the structures. An inspection of the ground plan
of the Palenque ruins in the folio volume of Dupaix, or in the work
of Mr. Stephens, will be apt to mislead unless this feature of the
architecture is kept in mind. There are in reality seven or eight
distinct edifices crowded together upon the summit level of the
platform. Mr. Stephens speaks of it as one structure. "The building,"
he remarks, "was constructed of stone, and the whole front was
covered with stucco and painted.... The doorways have no doors, nor
are there the remains of any.... The tops of the doorways were all
broken. They had evidently been square, and over every one were
large niches in the wall on each side, in which the lintels had been
laid. These lintels had all fallen, and the stones above formed
broken natural arches." [Footnote: Central America, &c., ii, 310-312.]

The interior walls in two rooms shown by engravings were plastered
over. Architecturally, Palenque is inferior to the House of the Nuns;
but it is more ornamental. It also has one peculiar feature not
generally found in the Yucatan structures, namely, a corridor about
nine feet wide, supposed to have run around the greater part of the
exterior on the four sides. The exterior walls of these corridors
rest on a series of piers, and the central or next parallel wall is
unbroken, except by one doorway on each of three sides and two in
the fourth, thus forming a narrow promenade. One of the interior
buildings consists of two such corridors, but wider, on opposite
sides of a central longitudinal wall. All the rooms in the several
edifices are large. In one of the open spaces is a tower about
thirty feet square, rising three stories. The Palenque structures
are quite remarkable, standing upon an artificial eminence about
forty feet high, and large enough to accommodate three thousand
people living in the fashion of Village Indians.

The plan of these houses, as well as of those in Yucatan, seems to
show that they were designed to be occupied by groups of persons
composed of a number of families, whose private boundaries were
fixed by solid partition walls. They are exactly adapted to this
mode of occupation, and this special adaptation, so plainly
impressed upon all this architecture, leads irresistibly to the
conclusion that they were occupied on the communal principle, and
were, consequently, neither more nor less than joint-tenement houses,
of a model which may be called, distinctively, that of the American
aborigines. None of these edifices are as large as those on the Rio
Chaco, nor does either of them possess equal accommodations with the
Pueblo Bonito, which possessed six hundred and forty rooms.
[Footnote: Lieutenant Simpson's Report, Senate Ex. Doc., 1st Sess.,
31st Congress, 1850, p. 81.]

But in this warm climate, and with the raised terraces used as
gathering places, more persons could manage to live in equal spaces.

Each structure, or group of structures, thus elevated, was a fortress.
They prove the insecurity in which the people lived; for the labor
involved in constructing these platform elevations, in part, at least,
artificial, would never have been undertaken without a powerful
motive. One of the chief blessings of civilization is the security
which a higher organization of society gives to the people, under
the protection of which they are able as cultivators to occupy
broad areas of land. In the Middle Status of barbarism they were
compelled to live generally in villages, which were fortified in
various ways; and each village, we must suppose, was an independent,
self-governing community, except as several kindred in descent, and
speaking the same dialect or dialects of the same language,
confederated for mutual protection. An impression has been
propagated that Palenque and other pueblos in these regions were
surrounded by dense populations living in cheaply constructed
tenements. Having assigned the structures found, and which
undoubtedly were all that ever existed, to Indian kings or potentates,
the question might well be asked, if such palaces were provided for
the rulers of the land, what has become of the residences of the
people? Mr. Stephens has given direct countenance to this
preposterous suggestion. [Footnote: Central America, &c., ii, 235.]

In his valuable works he has shown a disposition to feed the flames
of fancy with respect to these ruins. After describing the "palace,"
so called, at Palenque, and remarking that "the whole extent of
ground covered by those [ruins] as yet known, as appears by the plan,
is not larger than our Park or Battery" [in New York], he proceeds:
"It is proper to add, however, that considering the space now
occupied by the ruins as the site of palaces, temples, and public
buildings, and supposing the houses of the inhabitants to have
been, like those of the Egyptians and the present race of Indians,
of frail and perishable materials as at Memphis and Thebes, to
have disappeared altogether, the city may have covered an immense
extent." [Footnote: Incidents of Travel, Central America, Chiapas
and Yucatan, ii, p. 355 ff.] This is a clear case of suggestio falsi
by Mr. Stephens, who is usually so careful and reliable and, even
here, so guarded in his language. He had fallen into the mistake of
regarding these remains as a city in ruins, instead of a small
Indian pueblo in ruins. But he had furnished a general ground plan
of all the ruins found of the Palenque pueblo, which made it plain
that four or five structures upon pyramidal platforms at some
distance from each other, with the whole space over which they
were scattered about equal to the Battery, made a poor show for
a city. The most credulous reader would readily perceive that it
was a misnomer to call them the ruins of a city; wherefore the
suggestions of Mr. Stephens, that "considering the space now
occupied by the ruins as the site of palaces, temples, and public
buildings, and supposing the houses of the inhabitants made ... of
frail and perishable materials to have disappeared ... the city
may have covered an immense extent." That Mr. Stephens himself
considered or supposed either to be true may have been the case,
but it seems hardly supposable, and in either event he is
responsible for the false coloring thus put upon those ruins,
and the deceptive inferences drawn from them.

These structures are highly creditable to the intelligence of their
builders, and can be made to reveal the manner of their use and the
actual progress they had made in the arts of life; but they never
can be rationally explained while such wild views are entertained
concerning them. Until the actual character and signification of
these ruins are made known, such opinions may be expected to prevail
concerning them. They spring from the assumed existence of a state
of society far enough advanced to develop potentates and privileged
classes, with power to enforce labor from the people for personal
objects. There is no evidence whatever in support of such an
assumption. It is quite probable that small numbers belonging to
every pueblo lived a portion of the year in the forests in temporary
habitations, engaged in cultivation, or in hunting and fishing; but
enough is known from the brief accounts of the early explorers to
show us that the body of the inhabitants of Yucatan and Central
America were gathered in pueblos or villages. Moreover, they were
animated by the same spirit as the Cibolans in what related to
personal independence. Rather than live in subjection to Spanish
taskmasters, the very Indians who erected these houses with so much
labor, as Coronado states of the Cibolans, "Set in order all their
goods and substance, their women and children, and fled to the hills,
leaving their towns, as it were, abandoned," [Footnote: Herrera,
History of America, iii, 346, cf. 348.] preferring a return to a
lower stage of barbarism rather than a loss of personal freedom. In
1524 Cortex sent an officer "to reduce the people of Chiapas, who
had revolted, which that commander effectually performed, for, when
they could resist no longer, these desperate wretches cast
themselves with their wives and children headlong from precipices,
so that not above two thousand of them remained, whose offspring
inhabit that province at this time." The inhabitants of Palenque may
have been included in this description. [Footnote: ib., iv, 169.]

The profiles of the Palenque Indians, copied by Stephens from
representations in plaster in different parts of the several
structures, show that they were flat-heads, like the Chinook Indians
of the Columbia River; their foreheads having been flattened by
artificial compression. Herrera, speaking generally of the
inhabitants of Yucatan, remarks, "that they flattened their heads
and foreheads." [Footnote: ib., iv, 169.] Whether it was a general
practice does not appear, aside from the Palenque monuments, and the
off-hand statement of Herrera.

Another important question still remains, namely, whether or not the
Indians of Yucatan and Central America had reached the first stage
of scientific architecture, the use of the post and lintel of stone
as a principle of construction in stone masonry. The Egyptians used
the post and lintel, whence their architecture has been
characterized as the horizontal. The Greeks did not get beyond this,
although they brought in the three orders of architecture. The round
and the pointed arch, used as principles of construction, with all
they gave to architecture, were beyond even the Greeks. Speaking of
the Governor's House, Mr. Stephens remarks, that "the doors are all
gone, and the wooden lintels over them have fallen." [Footnote:
Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, i, 175.]

"In some of the inner apartments, the lintels were still in place
over the doorways, and some were lying on the floor, sound and solid,
which latter condition was no doubt owing to their being more
sheltered than those over the outer doorway." [Footnote: ib., p. 178.]
The same is true of the House of the Nuns, and of a number of other
structures figured and described in Mr. Stephens' works. But lintels
of stone are found in some houses. Thus, of one of the buildings at
Kabah, he says: "The lintels over the doors are of stone." [Footnote:
ib., i, 398.]

In this case there was a stone column in the middle of the doorway,
and the lintel was in two sections. Norman, speaking of the ruins at
Chichen Itza, remarks that the "doorways are nearly a square of
about seven feet, somewhat resembling the Egyptian; the sides of
which are formed of large blocks of hewn stone. In some instances
the lintels are of the same material." [Footnote: Rambles in Yucatan,
p. 128.]

They used sapote wood usually for lintels, a wood remarkable for its
solidity and durability. It may safely be said that the lintel of
wood was the rule in Yucatan, and not the exception. While they
understood the use of the stone lintel, which alone was capable of
affording a durable structure, its common and ordinary use was
beyond their ability. The use of stone of the size required,
overmatched their ability in stone masonry, as a rule. It cannot,
therefore, be said that the post and lintel of stone became a
principle of construction in their architecture. As the Mayas, who
constructed these edifices, were in the Middle Status of barbarism,
it was not to have been expected that their architecture would reach
the scientific stage.

American aboriginal history and ethnology have been perverted, and
even caricatured in various ways, and, among others, by a false
terminology, which of itself is able to vitiate the truth. When we
have learned to substitute Indian confederacy for Indian kingdom;
Teuchtli, or head war-chief, sachem, and chief, for king, prince,
and lord; Indian villages in the place of "great cities"; communal
houses for "palaces," and democratic for monarchic institutions;
together with a number of similar substitutions of appropriate for
deceptive and improper terms, the Indian of the past and present
will be presented understandingly, and placed in his true position
in the scale of human advancement. While the Aryan family has lost
neatly all traces of its experiences anterior to the closing period
of barbarism, the Indian family, in its different branches, offered
for our investigation not only the state of savagery, but also that
of both the opening and of the middle period of barbarism in full
and ample development. The American aborigines had enjoyed a
continuous and undisturbed progress upon a great continent, through
two ethnical periods, and the latter part of a previous period, on a
remarkable scale. If the opportunity had been wisely improved, a
rational knowledge of the experience of our own ancestors, while in
the same status, might have been gained through a study of these
progressive conditions. Beside this, before a science of ethnology
applied to the American aborigines can come into existence, the
misconceptions, and erroneous interpretations which now encumber the
original memorials must be removed. Unless this can in some way be
effectually accomplished, this science can never be established
among us.

Our ethnography was initiated for us by European investigators, and
corrupted in its foundation from a misconception of the facts. The
few Americans who have taken up the subject have generally followed
in the same track, and intensified the original errors of
interpretation until romance has swept the field. Whether it is
possible to commence anew, and retrieve what has been lost, I cannot
pretend to determine. It is worth the effort.

Finally, with respect to the condition and structures of the Village
Indians of Yucatan and Central America, the following conclusions
maybe stated as reasonable from the facts presented:

[Transcriber's Note: Lengthy footnote relocated to chapter end.]

First: That the Family among them was too weak an organization to
face alone the struggle of life, and therefore sheltered itself in
large households, composed probably of related families.

Second: That they were probably organized in gentes, and, as a
consequence, were broken up into independent tribes, with
confederacies here and there for mutual protection; and that their
institutions were essentially democratic.

Third: That from the plan and interior arrangement of these houses
the practice of communism in living in households may be inferred.

Fourth: That the people were Village Indians in the Middle Status of
barbarism; living in a single joint-tenement house or in several
such houses grouped together, and forming one pueblo.

Fifth: That hospitality and communism in living were laws of their
condition, which found expression in the form of the houses, which
were adapted to communism in living in large households.

Sixth: That all there ever was of Uxmal, Palenque, Copan, and other
pueblos in these areas, building for building, and stone for stone,
are there now in ruins.

Seventh: That nothing herein stated is inconsistent with the
supposition that some of these structures were devoted to religious

Finally: That a common principle runs through all this architecture,
from the Columbia River and the Saint Lawrence, to the Isthmus of
Panama, namely, that of adaptation to communism in living.

When we attempt to understand the "Palace at Palenque" or the
Governor's House at Uxmal, as the residences of Indian potentates,
they are wholly unintelligible; but as communal joint-tenement houses,
embodying the social, the defensive, and the communal principles, we
can understand how they could have been created, and so elaborately
and laboriously finished. It is evident that they were the work of
the people, constructed for their own enjoyment and protection.
Enforced labor never created them. On the contrary, it is the charm
of all these edifices, roomy, and tasteful and remarkable as they are,
that they were raised by the Indians for their own use, with willing
hands, and occupied by them on terms of entire equality. Liberty,
equality, and fraternity are emphatically the three great principles
of the gens, and this architecture responds to these sentiments. And
it is highly creditable to the Indian mind that while in the Middle
Status of barbarism they had developed the capacity to plan, and the
industry to rear, structures of such architectural design and
imposing magnitude.

I have now submitted all I intended to present with respect to the
house architecture of the American aborigines. It covers but a small
part of a great subject. As a key to the interpretation of this
architecture, two principles, the practice of hospitality and the
practice of communism in living, have been employed. They seem to
afford a satisfactory explanation of its peculiar features in
entire harmony with Indian institutions. Should the general reader
be able to acquiesce in this interpretation, it will lead to a
reconstruction of our aboriginal history, now so imperatively

[Relocated Footnote: Whether the Indian tribes of any part of North
America had learned to quarry stone to use for building purposes, is
still a question. In New Mexico there is no evidence that they
quarried stone. They picked up and used such stones as were found in
broken masses at the base of cliffs, or as were found on the surface
and could be easily removed from their bed. In Central America, if
anywhere they must have quarried stone, in the strict sense of this
term, but as yet there is no decisive evidence of the fact. It will
be necessary to find the quarries from which the stones were taken,
with such evidence of their having been worked as these quarries may
exhibit. The stones used in the edifices in Yucatan and Central
America are represented as a "soft coralline limestone," and, in
some cases, as in that of the Copan Idols, so called, of a "soft
grit stone." It requires the application of more than ordinary
intelligence and skill to quarry stone, even of this character. The
native tribes had no metals except native copper gold and silver,
and these were without the harness requisite for a lever or chisel;
and they had no explosives to use in blasting. Other agencies may
have been used. We find the stone lintel for the doorway beyond
their ability for ordinary use, and that for the want of it, they
were unable to erect permanent structures in stone. The art of
quarrying stone is gained by mankind before civilization is gained,
but it must commence in rude form before more effective means are
discovered through experience. If any of the American Indian tribes
had advanced to this knowledge, and possessed the skill and ability
to quarry stone, it is important that the fact should be established,
and that they should have credit for the progress in knowledge
implied by this skill and ability. Dressed stone from the walls at
Uxmal, Palenque, and elsewhere in Yucatan and Central America should
be proved by applying the square to find whether a level surface and
a true angle were formed upon them. It should also be ascertained
whether the walls are truly vertical, and also whether they had
learned to make a mortar of quicklime and sand. Before our
adventurous writers use in connection with our native tribes and
their works such terms as "civilization, great cities, palaces, and
temples," and apply such imposing titles as "king, prince, and lord"
to Indian chiefs, they should be prepared to show that some at least
of their tribes had learned the use of wells and how to dig them,
and how to quarry stone, to prepare a mortar of lime and sand; to
form a right angle and a level face upon a stone, and lay up
vertical walls. These necessary acquisitions precede the first
beginnings of civilization.]



  Abert, J. W., cited
  Aboriginal history perverted
  Acosta, J. de, cited
  Adair, J., cited
  Adobe houses, ruins of
  Aleuts, communal dwellings
          hospitality of the
  Altars, Mound-Builders'
  Amidas, P.
  Ancient society, uniformity in the plan of
  Anonymous Conqueror
  Arroyo pueblo
  Athenian tribes, coalescence of
  Aztec Confederacy
  Aztecs, cremation among the
          eating customs of the
          extravagant accounts concerning the
          governmental institutions of the
          houses of the
          social system of the


  Bachofen, Professor
  Bancroft, H. H.
  Bandelier, A. F., cited
  Barlow, Arthur
  Bartram, John, cited
  Brasseur de Bourbourg, C. E.


  Caribs, communal dwellings of the
          houses of the
  Carver, J., cited
  Casa Cerrada or closed house
  Castanyada, S. de N., cited
  Catlin, G., cited
  Champlain, S. de, cited
  Chiapas, village of
  Chickasas, gentes and phratries
  Chilluckittequaw, hospitality of the
  Chimneys, absence of
            unknown in Yucatan and Central America
  Chinooks, houses of the
  Chocta, gentes and phratries
  Chopunish, house of the
  Cibola, Seven Cities of
                       site of the
  Clahclellahs, houses of the
  Clan, the Scottish
  Clarke, J. S.
  Clatsops, houses of the
  Clavigero, F. S. cited
  Columbus, Christopher
  Communal dwellings
                     of tribes in Lower Status of barbarism
                     of tribes in savagery
                     of Village Indians of New Mexico
  Communism among ancient Mexicans
            in living
            in relation to dwellings
  Confederacies, origin of
  Confederacy confined to a common language
              Iroquois. See Iroquois Confederacy.
              of the Aztecs
              the nearest analogue of nation
  Copan grave posts
  Coronado, F. V., cited
  Core used in the architecture of Yucatan
  Cortez, F.
  Coues, E., cited
  Creek Confederacy
  Creek Indians, communal dwellings of the
  Cremation among Mound-Builders
            practice of, among the Aztecs
  Crossman, Captain, cited
  Culture periods
  Curia, the Roman
  Cutler, J. G.


  Dakota League
         lodge described
  Dakotans, communism of the
  Dall, W. H., cited
  Dankers, Jasper, cited
  Delawares, communism of the
             eating customs of the
             hospitality of the
  Descent in female line in archaic period
  De Soto, Hernando, cited
  Diaz, Bernal, cited
  Dwellings, communal. See Communial dwellings.


  Earth works, object of the
               size of the
  Embankments as base of houses
  Emory, General W. H., cited
  Ethnic or culture periods
  Exaggerations in the accounts of the ancient Mexicans.


  Feudalism, absence of in America
  Food, joint ownership in
  Foster, J. W.
  Frontenac, L. de B.
  Funeral practice, organization at.


  Galbraith, F. G.
  Garcilasso de la Vega
  Gardens, artificial
  Gens, archaic form
        as it exists among American aborigines
        founded upon kin
        intermarriage in, prohibited
                rights, privileges, and obligations
        number of persons in
        rights, privileges, and obligations of
        stages of development
        the Greek
        the Latin
        the Sanskrit
  Gentes and tribes formed by natural growth
         Iroquois, number of
                   list of
         named after animals
         similar in different tribes
         transfer of, between phratries
  Gentile organization
          society distinguished from political
  Gorman, S., cited
  Government, growth of the idea of
              plan of among American aborigines
              stages in the development of
  Governor's House
  Grave posts of chiefs
  Grenville, R.
  Grijalva, J., cited
  Guerra, C., cited
  Gyneocracy among the Iroquois.


  Halls unknown in Indian architecture
  Hayden, F. V.
  Heckewelder, J. cited
  Herrera, A. de, cited
  High-Bank pueblo described
  Hindus, communal customs among the
  Hospitality general among Indians of America
              law of
              of the Aleuts
                     Indians of California
                                Mexico, Central and South America
                                South America
                                the Columbia
                     Nez Perces
                     North Carolina Indians
                     Southern Indians
                     tribes of the Missouri
                                   Upper Mississippi
                     Village Indians of New Mexico
  House architecture modified by climate
  Household, number of persons in
  House life of the Indians
        of the Dwarf
               Nuns at Uxmal
               Old Woman
  Houses of Central America
         capacity of the
         of Indian tribes north of New Mexico
            the Aztecs
                California Indians
                Indians of Columbia Valley

  Houses of the Kutchin
                Makah Indians
                Mandans and Minnetarees
                Maricopas and Mohaves
                Nyack Indians
                Pueblo Taos
                Village Indians
                Virginia Indians
         ruins of, in Yucatan and Central America
         safe against Indian assault
  Howitt, A. W., on Australian customs.


  Idols at Copan
  Indian society unlike European
  Indians, house life of the
           of Mexico and Central America, communal dwellings of the
                                                 tenure of lands
              New Mexico, communal dwellings of the
                          land customs of the
              Northwest coast, communal dwellings of the
              Peru, communism of the
           Southern, communal dwellings of the
                     eating customs of the
  Inheritance, customs of
  Iroquois, communal dwellings of the
            communion among
                       cohesive principles of
                       founded on kinship
                       general features of the
                       origin of the
                       seat of the central tribes
            Council, annual meeting of the
                     decisions of the
                     objects of the
            eating customs of the
                rights, privileges, and obligations
            gentes, number of the
                    list of the
            hospitality of the
            houses of the, described
            lands of the
            migration of the
            mother rights
            number of, in existence
            number of the
            phratry, functions and uses
                     objects of the
            sachemships of the
                        table of the
            sachems, names bestowed upon
            tribal epithets
            war chiefs
  Ives, J. C., cited.


  Jackson, W. H.
  Jaramillo, Juan, cited
  Joliet, L.
  Jones, S., cited
  Jose, J.
  Jus gentilicium.


  Kinship, rights and duties of, among the Aztecs
           rights, duties, and obligations of
  Kin the basis of gentes
  Kutchin, houses of the.


  Lands, division of
         of the Iroquois
         ownership of, in common
         of Village Indians, rights in
         tenure of, among ancient Mexicans
  Languages, stock, number of
             great number of, among American aborigines
             verbal, incapable of permanence
  Lapham, J. A.
  Las Casas, B. de, cited
  Latin and Sabine gentes, coalescence of
  Lewis and Clark, cited
  Lintels of Pueblos of Mexico
             wood and stone
  Long-House of the Iroquois described
                    Onondaga described
             symbol of the Iroquois Confederacy


  Maize indigenous to America
  Makah Indians, houses of the
  Mandan drying scaffolds
         houses, interior of the
  Mandans, communal dwellings of the
           eating customs of the
           hospitality of the
           houses of the
  Marcos, Friar
  Male labor, first appearance of
  Maricopas, houses of the
  Marquette, J. cited
  Marsh, O. C.
  Maximilian, Prince
  Mayas, communism in living
                   of the
         cremation among
         gentes of the
         hospitality of the
         of Yucatan
  Meals, customs relating to
         separation of the sexes at
  Mexican houses, size of the
                  usually two stories high
          land ownership, conclusions concerning
  Mexicans, ancient inheritance among.

  Mexican tribes, migration of the
  Mexico, pueblo of
                   largest in America
  Migration of the Iroquois
  Migrations occur through physical causes
  Miller, D. J. cited
  Minnetarees, houses of the
  Mishonginivi, pueblo of, described
  Mitchell, H. L.
  Mohaves, houses of the
  Mohegan gentes and phratries
  Moki confederacy
       house, interior
           a war chief
           house of
  Montezuma's dinner
  Mortar, use of among American Indians
                arts and industries of the
                circular enclosures of the
                cremation among the
                derived from Village Indians of New Mexico
                earth-works, uses of
                houses of the
                in Middle Status of barbarism
                migrations of the
                migrations of, affected by climate
                modification of house architecture
                probable number of
                probably derived from New Mexico
                social organization of the
                structure of, in Ohio
  Mound, Grave Creek
  Mounds at Mound City
  Murphy, H. C.


  Nation, a coalition of tribes
  National Assembly, functions of
  Nez Perces, hospitality of the
  Norman, B. M., cited
  Nyack Indians, houses of the.


  Ojibwa gentes
         lodge, description of
  Omaha gentes
  Onondaga, Long-House of the, described
  Onondagas, hospitality of the
  Onondaga village described
  Organization, social and governmental
  Ottawa confederacy
  Ownership of lands in severalty.


  Palenque architecture
           so-called palace of the
  Parker William, a Seneca chief
  Peru, tenure of lands in
  Phrata of the Albanians
  Phratric organization at funerals
  Phratries, Chickasas
             composed of kindred gentes
             of the Iroquois
  Phratry, existence of the, in Mexico and Central America
           in the military organization
           Iroquois, functions and uses
                     objects of
           marriage in the
           older than the confederacy
  Pimas, hospitality of the
  Plant life in the Rocky Mountains
  Pomeiock, village of, described
  Powell, J. W.
  Powers, Stephen, cited
  Powhattan Village, communal dwellings of the
  Prescott, W. H.
  Pueblo of Chettro Kettle, size of the
  Pueblos, number of persons in
           of North American, number of inhabitants
              Yucatan and Central America, population of
           size of




  Raleigh, Sir Walter
  Religious beliefs
  Rights in lands among the Indians of Taos
  Robertson, cited
  Round towers
  Ruins, east of the Rio Grande
         in McElmo Canyon
            the San Juan district
         near base of Ute Mountain
         in Mexico
         of houses in New Mexico
            the pueblo of Bonito
                          Hungo Pavie
                          Chettro Kettle
                          Penyasca Blanca
                          Una Vida
                       on the Animas River
                                          outline plan


  Sachems of the Iroquois, names bestowed upon
  Sachemships of the Iroquois Confederacy
                              table of

  Sahagun, B. cited
  Sandhill crane
  San Juan district, ancient occupation of the
                     geographic relations of the
           Valley, altitude of
  Santo Domingo, pueblo of
  Sauks, communal dwellings of the
  Schulz, Carl
  Secotan, village of, described
  Seneca-Iroquois. See Iroquois.
  Sept, the Irish
  Shawnees, removal of the
  Shoshones, hospitality of the
  Sibley tent, aboriginal origin of the
  Simpson, J. H.
  Sitgreave, L.
  Shuyter, Peter, cited
  Smet, P. J. de
  Smith, John, cited
  Social and governmental organization
  Society, organization of
  Sokulks, commercial dwellings of the
  Spanish accounts of Aztec society
          histories, how they should be regarded
  Squire, E. G., cited
  Squire and Davis, cited
  Steck, M.
  Stephens, J. L., cited
  Stevenson, J.
  Stevenson, Mrs. J., description of Zunyi, by
  Stones of Pueblo dwellings
  Swan, C.
  Swan, J. G., cited
  Symbol of the Iroquois Confederacy
  Syndyasmian family.


  Taos, houses of
        Indians, organization of
        pueblo of described
  Teepan, or official house of the tribe
  Tenbroeck, cited
  Tlingit, gentes and phrates
  Tiotohatton, size of
               village of, described
  Tlascalans, cremation among
              the four lineages of the
  Towers, round
  Tribal government of the Iroquois
                    stages of
  Tribe composed of gentes
        functions and attributes of
  Tribe, the characteristics of
  Tribes and gentes continually forming
                    formed by natural growth
         evolved from each other
         in savagery, continual dwellings of
  Tribute and tribute lands.


  Uxmal, Governor's House at
         House of the Nuns at
                             ground plan
                             room described
         structures of


  Vega, Garcillasso de la, cited
  Village Indians, houses of the
                   of New Mexico, arts of
                   religious beliefs of
  Voyage to New York in 1679-1680 by Dankers and Sluyter.


  Walker, F. A., on the Iroquois
  Ward, J., cited
  Whittlesry, C.
  Wocoken, island of
  Wolpi, pueblo of
  Wright, A.
  Wyth, J., cited.


  Yucatan and Central American agriculture
                               general condition of the aborigines
                               household life in
                               Indians, condition and structures of
                               languages of
                               population of
                               villages designed as fortresses
                               ruins of houses in
                               village life

         Maya Indians of


  Zaya, apartment in
        ground plans of
        ruins of
  Zempoala described
  Zunyi, pueblo of

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