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Indian Boyhood Life and Adventures

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Indian Boyhood Life and Adventures
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Indian Boyhood Life and Adventure

Extracted from a larger work titled “Indian Boyhood”.

Written by Charles Alexander Eastman circa 1902.

Eastman recalls some of the incidents in his boyhood life.

Topic headings are:

Life in the Woods

A Winter Camp

Wild Harvests

A Meeting on the Plains

An Adventurous Journey

28 pages

 

 

 

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could witness their grief. The old men joined in the crying and singing. To all appearances the most unmoved of all were the warriors, whose tears must be poured forth in the country of the enemy to embitter their vengeance. These sat silently within their lodges, and strove to conceal their feelings behind a stoical countenance; but they would probably have failed had not the soothing weed come to their relief.

   The first sad shock over, then came the change of habiliments. In savage usage, the outward expression of mourning surpasses that of civilization. The Indian mourner gives up all his good clothing, and contents himself with scanty and miserable garments. Blankets are cut in two, and the hair is cropped short. Often a devoted mother would scarify her arms or legs; a sister or a young wife would cut off all her beautiful hair and disfigure herself by undergoing hardships. Fathers and brothers blackened their faces, and wore only the shabbiest garments. Such was the spectacle that our people presented when the bright autumn was gone and the cold shadow of winter and misfortune had fallen upon us. "We must suffer," said they -- "the Great Mystery is offended."

 

A Winter Camp

    WHEN I was about twelve years old we wintered upon the Mouse river, west of Turtle mountain. It was one of the coldest winters I ever knew, and was so regarded by the old men of the tribe. The summer before there had been plenty of buffalo upon that side of the Missouri, and our people had made many packs of dried buffalo meat and cached them in different places, so that they could get them in case of need. There were many black-tailed deer and elk along the river, and grizzlies were to be found in the open country. Apparently there was no danger of starvation, so our people thought to winter there; but it proved to be a hard winter.

   There was a great snow-fall, and the cold was intense. The snow was too deep for hunting, and the main body of the buffalo had crossed the Missouri, where it was too far to go after them. But there were some smaller herds of the animals scattered about in our vicinity, therefore there was still fresh meat to be had, but it was not secured without a great deal of difficulty.

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