Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,003 pages of information about Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers.

“A principle that prevails in the American languages, as far as my information extends, is, that the verb, with its nominative and objective cases, be inseparably connected.  The Delaware, the Chippewa (under whatever name), and the Cree, &c., make the change in person, number, &c., by a change in the prefix or suffix.  But the Mohawk and Chippewyan [96] make the change, in some cases, in the middle of the word, when the Chippewa and others always remain unchanged.”

[Footnote 96:  It must be remembered that the Chippewas and Chippewyans, are diverse tribes.  The two words are both Chippewa; but the tribes are of different groups.  The one is ALGONQUIN; the other ATHAPASCA.  The Mohawk belongs to a third group of languages, namely, the IROQUOIS.]


Popular error respecting the Indian character and history—­Remarkable superstition—­Theodoric—­A missionary choosing a wild flower—­Piety and money—­A fiscal collapse in Michigan—­Mission of Grand Traverse—­Simplicity of the school-girl’s hopes—­Singular theory of the Indians respecting story-telling—­Oldest allegory on record—­Political aspects—­Seneca treaty—­Mineralogy—­Farming and mission station on Lake Michigan.

1840. Jan. 1st.  Having determined to pass another winter (some ten weeks of which are past) at Mackinack, I have found my best and pleasantest employment in my old resource, the investigation of the Indian character and history.  The subject is exhaustless in every branch of inquiry, but the more it is turned over and sifted, the more cause there is to see that there is error to be encountered at almost every step.  Travelers have been chiefly intent on the picturesque, and have given themselves but little trouble to investigate.  The historian has had his mind full of prepossessions derived from ancient reading, and has, generally, been seated three thousand miles across the water, where the work of personal comparison was impossible.  Left to the repose of himself, mentally and physically, without being placed in the crucible of war, without being made the tool of selfishness, or driven to a state of half idiocy by the use of liquor, the Indian is a man of naturally good feelings and affections, and of a sense of justice, and, although destitute of an inductive mind, is led to appreciate truth and virtue as he apprehends them.  But he is subject to be swayed by every breath of opinion, has little fixity of purpose, and, from a defect of business capacity, is often led to pursue just those means which are least calculated to advance his permanent interests, and his mind is driven to and fro like a feather in the winds. This man, and that man, are continually bringing up Indians to speak for some selfish object, which, being a little out of sight, he does not perceive in its true light, but which he nevertheless is soon made to comprehend, if a public agent sets it plainly

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Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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