Account Of The Inhabitants Of Koreki
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
The religion of these people is, if possible, more absurd than that of the Kamtschatkadales ; their worship is paid wholly to evil spirits, but they have no fixed seasons for performing it. Whenever they pass a river or waste which they think the devils inhabit, they kill a reindeer or a dog, the flesh of which they eat, and leave the head and tongue, sticking it on a pole with the front towards the east; and when they are afraid of any infectious distemper, they kill a dog, and winding the guts upon two poles, they pass between them.
Theft, however, if not committed among their own tribe, is reputable, and a girl cannot be married till she has shown her dexterity in stealing with such address as not to be discovered.
Their marriage ceremonies are much the same as among the Kamtschatkadales; and they marry their kinsmen without scruple, except a mother or daughter.
They are very fond of their children, and bring them up from their infancy to labour and economy. They attend the sick with great care and tenderness ; and they burn their dead with great solemnity. They dress them in their finest apparel, and draw them to the place where they are to be burned with those deer that they think were their favourites. When they arrive at the spot, they erect a large pile of wood, upon which they place the body, with the arms of the deceasedótheir spear, quiver, arrows, and bowówith a kettle, and some other utensils. They then set fire to the pile, and while it is burning, kill the deer that drew the corpse, upon which they feast, and throw the fragments into the fire.
They celebrate the memory of the dead only once, and that one year after their decease. All the relations then assemble, and taking two young reindeer that have never been broken, and a great many horns of deer, which they have been collecting through the whole year for that purpose, they go to the place where the body was burned, and there, having killed and feasted on the deer, the Sham-man or conjuror drives the horns into the ground, pretending that he sends a herd of deer to the dead. And after this they return home ; and in order to purify themselves, they pass between two rods that are fixed in the ground, and the Shamman, at the same time beating them with another, conjures the dead not to take them away.