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Prophets And Wonder Workers
In the legendary lore of all Indian tribes the part played by wonder-workers in the affairs of men is the predominating theme. Sometimes these are demiurgic beings, exercising and evincing their might in the process of creation. Sometimes they are magical animals, endowed with shape-shifting powers.
Migration Legends And Year Counts
The historical sense had reached a certain development among the Indians of the Plains as among those of the east. Not only are migration-legends to be found, such as that of the Creek, but pictographic records, like the Walum Olum of the Delaware, are possessed by more than one western tribe.
Mountain And Desert - The Great Divide
West of the Great Plains, and extending almost the full length of the continent, rises the long wall of the Rocky Mountains — the Great Divide of North America. To the east of this chain lie the open prairies, grassy and watered, and beyond these the ancient forest lands, rich in vegetation.
The Gods Of The Mountains
Another great elevation of the vicinity, Mt. Tacoma, has its own legends. Of its beautiful Paradise Valley, near the snow line, the Indians made a sanctuary, a place of refuge for the pursued, upon attaining which none dared harm him, a place of penance for the repentant, a place of vigil for the seeker after visions. But beyond this valley, toward the mountain-top, no Indian ventured.
The World And Its Denizens
Men's ideas of the form of the world, in the pre-scientific stage of thinking, are determined by the aspect of their natural environment: dwellers by the sea look upon the land as an island floating like a raft on cosmic waters; plains-folk believe the earth to be a circle overcanopied by the tent of heaven; mountaineers naturally regard the mountains as the pillars of the firmament supporting the sky-roof over the habitable valleys.
Shapaptian And Shoshonean World Shapers
The Nez Percé are the most important tribe of the Shahaptian stock. In the primeval age, they say, there was a monster in what is now central Idaho whose breath was so powerful that it inhaled the winds, the grass, the trees, and different animals, drawing them to destruction.
The animal-powers bulk large in the myths of the tribes of the Mountain and Desert region. Doubtless in their religion, apart from myth, the animal-powers are secondary; the Shoshoni, says De Smet, swear by the Sun, by Fire, and by the Earth, and what men swear by we may be reasonably sure marks their intensest convictions.
Spirits, Ghosts, And Bogies
Giants, dwarfs, talking animals, ogre-like cannibals, many-headed water monsters, man-stealing rocs, sky-serpents, and desert witches are all forms which, in the jargon of the northwest, are regarded as tamanos, or powerful, though they are neither gods nor spirits, and, indeed, may be destroyed by an adroit and bold warrior.
Prophets And The Ghost Dances
A spirit-journey and a revelation is the sanction which creates an Indian prophet. Shaman and medicine-man alike claim this power of spiritual vision, and the records of investigators sufficiently show that the Indian possesses in full degree this form of mystic experience. Behind nearly every important movement of the Indian peoples lies some trance of seer or prophet, to whom the tribes look for guidance.
The Navaho And Their Gods
The Navaho speak an Athapascan tongue, but in blood they are one of the most mixed of Indian peoples, with numerous infusions from neighbouring tribes, additions having come to them from the more civilized Pueblo dwellers as well as from the wandering tribes of the desert. But various as is their origin, the Navaho have a cultural unity and distinction setting them in high relief among Indian peoples.
The Navaho Genesis
The Navaho believe that the world is built in a sequence of storeys, the fifth of these being the earth on which men now dwell. The genesis-legend of this tribe divides into four episodic tales, the first of which, the Age of Beginnings, narrates the ascent of the progenitors of Earth's inhabitants from storey to storey of the Underworld, and their final emergence upon Earth.
The Creation Of The Sun
In the Navaho Genesis, just recounted, there is a brief description of the creation of the Sun-Disk. A somewhat different and fuller version, recorded by James Stevenson, is as follows.
Navaho Ritual Myths
The myth of the creation of the sun, just quoted, gives a vivid picture of a primitive ritual, with its reliance upon mimetic magic and the power of suggestion; the magic depicted is that of the gods, but all Navaho ceremonials, and indeed Indian rituals generally, are regarded as derived from the great powers.
Apache And Piman Mythology
The mythology of the Apache, who like the Navaho are of Athapascan stock, is of the same general character as that of their kindred tribe, except that it lacks the organization and poetry of Navaho myth, and in general reflects the inferiority of Apache to Navaho culture.
Yuman Mythology
The tribes of the Yuman stock — of which the Mohave, Maricopa, Havasupai, Walapai, Diegueño, and Yuma proper are the most important in the United States — occupy territory extending from the southern Californian coast and the peninsula of Lower California eastward into the arid high-lands. Geographically they are thus a connecting link between the tribes of the South-West and the Californian stocks.
Observations On The Mer De Glace
THE law established by Forbes and Agassiz, that the central portions of a glacier moved faster than the sides, was amply illustrated and confirmed by the deportment of lines of stakes placed across the Mer de Glace and its tributaries in 1857.
Structures And Properties Of Ice
BEING desirous of examining how the interior of a mass of ice is affected by a beam of radiant heat sent through it, I availed myself of the sunny weather of September and October 1857. The sunbeams, condensed by a lens, were sent in various directions through slabs of ice.
Structures Of Glaciers
But even after the snow has been squeezed to hard ice in the upper glacier region, it always contains a large amount of the air originally entrapped in the snow. The air is distributed through the solid in the form of bubbles, which give the ice a milky appearance. At the lower extremity of a glacier the ice, as everybody knows, is blue and transparent.
Helmholtz On Ice And Glaciers
SWITZERLAND has attractions for the scientific philosophers of Germany, and around the Titlis, Bunsen, Helmholtz, Kirchhoff, and Wiedemann are not unfamiliar names. Nor have their visits to the Alps been unproductive of results.
These clouds were really the indicators of what was going on in the unseen air. Without them no motion was visible ; but their appearance and disappearance proved not only the existence of motion, but also the want of homogeneity in the atmosphere.
Superadded to this source of general rain, we have at Killarney local condensers in the neighbouring mountains. Round the cool crests of Carrantual and his peaked and craggy brothers the moist and tilted south-west wind curdles ceaselessly into clouds, which nourish the moss and heather whose decomposition produces the peat which clothes the disintegrated rocks.
Snowdon In Winter
TAINTED by the city air, and with gases not natural even to the atmosphere of London, I gladly chimed in with the proposal of an experienced friend to live four clear days at Christmas on Welsh mutton and mountain air.
Voyage To Algeria To Observe The Eclipse
THE opening of the Eclipse Expedition was not propitious. Portsmouth, on the 5th of December 1870, was swathed by a fog, which was intensified by smoke, and traversed by a drizzle of fine rain.
The Pueblo Dwellers
One of the most interesting and curious groups of people, not only of North America but of the world, is composed of the Pueblo dwellers of New Mexico and Arizona. The Pueblo Indians get their name (given them by the Spaniards) from the fact that they live in compact villages, or pueblos, of stone or adobe houses, which in some instances rise to a height of five storeys.
Pueblo Cosmology
The symbolism of the World-Quarters, of the Above, and of the Below is nowhere more elaborately developed among American Indians than with the Pueblos. Analogies are drawn not merely with the colours, with plants and animals, and with cult objects and religious ideas, but with human society in all the ramifications of its organization, making of mankind not only the theatric centre of the cosmos, but a kind of elaborate image of its form.
Gods And Katcinas
In such a frame are set the world-powers venerated by the Pueblo dwellers. These cosmic potencies may be classed in two great categories: the gods, which represent the powers and divisions of nature; and the Katcinas, primarily the spirits of ancestors, but in a secondary usage the spirit-powers of other beings, even of the gods.
The Calendar
Agriculture makes a people not only non-migratory, but close observers of the seasons, and hence of the yearly stations of the sun. The count of time by moons is sufficient for nomadic peoples, or for tribes whose subsistence is mainly by the chase, but in a settled agricultural community the primitive lunar year is sooner or later replaced by a solar year, determined by the passage of the sun through the solstitial and equinoctial points.
The Great Rites And Their Myths
Perhaps no feature of Pueblo culture is more distinctive than the calendric arrangement of their religious rites. Other tribes in North America have ceremonies as elaborate as any in the pueblos, and probably in most cases these rituals are regarded as appropriate only to certain seasons of the year, but it is not generally the season that brings the performance.
Sia And Hopi Cosmogonies
No Indians are more inveterate and accomplished tellers of tales than are the Pueblo dwellers. Their repertoire includes its full quota of coyote traditions and stories of ghosts, bugaboos, cannibals, ogres, and fairies, as well as legends of migration and clan accession, of cultural innovations and the founding of rites, the historical character of which is more or less clear.
The California-Oregon Tribes
A glance at the linguistic map of aboriginal North America will reveal the fact that more than half of the radical languages of the continent north of Mexico — nearly sixty in all — are spoken in the narrow strip of territory extending from the Sierras, Cascades, and western Rockies to the sea, and longitudinally from the arid regions of southern California to the Alaskan angle.
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