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Among the Arapahoe Indians

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Collection of 85 American Indian Reports Click Here

Written in 1880 by Lieutenant H.R. Lemly.

Lieut. Lemly describes a visit to an Arrapahoe village.

Illustrated, with sketches of village, and some of the people whose names are: Washington, Friday, A Puller, Sharp Nose, Black Coal, Feather Head. Also has a diagram of hand signs used in sign language.

 12 pages

 

 

 

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Darkness or night is expressed by a simultaneous motion of the hands from a position at their respsctive sides, fore-arms horizontal, and palms up, in a circularly approaching manner, so as to bring them palms down, one above the other, in front of the body (E), as though to say that " everything is closed." '' Ev­erything open," that is, day or daylight, is this motion reversed (F), and both are very significant.

Sharp Nose is Black Coal's lieutenant, or head soldier, and the finest scout I have encountered on the plains. He derives his name from a physiognomical fact, and not from acute scent, which, however, he possesses in an astonishing degree. His eyes are as bright and as piercing as an eagle's. Nothing escapes his vision. In Colonel Mackenzie's winter campaign against the Cheyennes in 1876-77, Sharp Nose rendered invaluable service. His son, an intelligent and active little fellow of eight summers, frequently accompanies him upon less hostile expeditions.

Judged by the Caucasian standard of beauty, a handsome buck or squaw is rarely found among the Arrapalioes, al­though fine physiques are common; but the reverse obtains with their children. In them roundness of outline conceals high cheek-bones and other prominent angu­larities, and they are generally pretty, and very prepossessing in manner. They are obedient, and seldom quarrel; hence they are not often punished. Parental affection and filial are equally strong. As I have before remarked, the squaws are generally ill treated by the bucks, but otherwise fighting is uncommon, and thefts seldom occur. Individual differ­ences are amicably adjusted; if of a se­rious nature, by arbitration. Murder— unless the massacre of their enemies, against whom they fiendishly delight to perpetrate every atrocity, be so regarded— is almost unknown. These facts appear the more remarkable when their mode of life is considered. Two or more families are not un frequently crowded into a sin­gle lodge, but great delicacy characterizes their intercourse. Does the civilized lover ask how this warrior of the plains wooes ? There are no moon-lit groves for him; only the boundless and treeless prairie. But he folds his blanket around his nut-brown mistress, and under its common shelter they sue and sigh undisturbed. And this barbarian, as we call him, when he receives his death-wound, calmly sur­renders to

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