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petty tricks to gain their end," &c., &c. We will merely add that, even if such charges could be proved true, their introduction into a scientific controversy would be wholly unbecoming. To make them upon purely gratuitous surmises is a fault which we must leave others to characterize.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE ETHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY. At the meeting of the 27th of June, John Crawfurd, Esq., President, in the chair, the paper read, as mentioned in our last issue, was a “Report on the Indian Tribes of the North-west Coast of America, in the Vicinity of the 49th Parallel of North Latitude,” by Captain Wilson. It was a long, elaborate, and very interesting communication, of which there was only time to read selected portions; but it will doubtless appear in full in the next volume of the Society's Transactions. It relates to the Indian tribes with which the Boundary Commission was chiefly brought into contact during the course of its operations on the 49th parallel ; and these tribes are classed under the three great heads of Cowitchan, Selish, and Kootenay—the Cowitchans being on the west of the Cascade Mountains, the Selish between the Cascade and Rocky Mountains, and the Kootenay on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains.
The traditions, legends, and habits of the Selish and Kootenay, or interior Indians, would lead to the belief that they are of the same race as the great tribes of Crees, Blackfeet, Crows, Sious, &c., and a gradual westerly movement of the Indian tribes would naturally take place as the advance of the whites drove them from the seaboard. The
of the Cascade Mountains forms as marked a division of the native tribes of the West as it does of the fauna and climate. Besides differences of feature, there are many customs amongst the coast tribes peculiar to themselves, such as the flattening of the head amongst the Cowitchans, the mode of burial of the dead in boxes or canoes,
&c. The Cowitchans inhabit a portion of the east and south-east coasts of Vancouver's Island, and the country in the vicinity of the 49th parallel of north latitude, from the sea to the Cascade Mountains. Of the numerous tribes into which they are divided, the Cowitchans, or parent stock, living on the Cowitchan river, some distance to the north of Victoria, are the most powerful, their numbers being estimated at over 2000.
These tribes resemble each other greatly in appearance and habits, such differences as exist being principally due, the writer thinks, to locality and the means by which they obtain their living. Thus the Indians of Chilukweyuk, who hunt a great deal on foot, are, from constant exercise, much more robust in appearance, manly and open-hearted in manner, than their brethren of Vancouver's Island. The custom of flattening the head prevails amongst the tribes on the island, and as far up the Fraser River as Fort Langley; but, above this, the writer does not remember seeing an Indian with a flattened skull, or an infant undergoing the process—a common sight in the neighbourhood of Esquimalt and Victoria.
The stature of the Cowitchans is diminutive, ranging from five feet to five feet six, and occasionally to five feet seven or five feet eight inches. Amongst the more inland tribes the women are five or six inches shorter. The hair is black or very dark brown, coarse, straight, and allowed to grow to its full length, either falling in one large mass over the neck and shoulders, or plaited and done up in tresses round the head. The faces of both sexes are generally broad, the forehead low, the eyes black, bright, and piercing, though generally small, and set in the head obliquely, like the Tartar or Chinese; the nose broad and thick, with large nostrils; the cheek bones high and prominent; the mouth large and wide, with thick lips, especially the under one; and the teeth large and of a pearly white when young, but soon discoloured and worn down by the hard service they have to go through, masticating the tough dry salmon which constitutes their principal food. Indeed, so much is this the case, that most of the old women met with had their teeth worn down to a level with the gum. The Vancouver Island tribes have broad shoulders and good chests, but the lower part of their bodies is much deformed, the legs being small, crooked, and weak, with thick ankles, arising from their spending the greater part of their lives squatting on their calves in a canoe, which is the favourite, and indeed almost the only means of locomotion made use of by these Indians. The women increase this deformity by binding tight bandages round the lower part of the leg. The Chilukweyuks are, however, an exception to this, having straight, well-formed legs, the result of their more active life. The complexion, when washed, is a dark olive, the colour of the face being deepened by exposure to a dark brown.
The intellect of the Cowitchans is of a low order, but they show great ingenuity in the manufacture of their nets, canoes, &c. Whether from fear or inclination, they were always honest in their dealings with the members of the Commission; and, though scattered in small parties over a large tract of country, presenting every opportunity for it, no case of theft by an Indian occurred during the eighteen months spent amongst them.
The religion of these Indians, and their ideas about it, are now so confused and mixed up with the Christian doctrines and traditions they have learned from the Roman Catholic priests that it is very difficult to find out anything reliable about it. They appear to have had some vague idea of a great spirit, represented on the tombs as a large bird having soine fantastic resemblance to an eagle, to whom they made offerings, and who showed his displeasure by thunder, storms, and lightning; and also that the good would go to some place where they would find plenty of game and spend their days in comfort, whilst the bad would suffer from hunger and the chilling blasts of winter. They are firm believers in ghosts, spirits, omens, &c., and are fond of relating fables and stories. Each tribe has its “ Tomanoas,” doctor, priest, juggler, or whatever he may be, who is believed to have great powers, including that of producing rain.
The Selish race inhabit the country between the Cascade and Rocky Mountains, in the vicinity, and to the north and south of the 49th parallel of north latitude, with the exception of that portion watered by the Kootenay river. The various tribes appeared to be offshoots of one parent stock, and resemble each other greatly in appearance, manners, and customs. The Selish and Kalispelms, however, have the highest character for bravery and all the virtues of savage life.
The average height of the men is about five feet six or five feet seven inches, few exceeding the latter height; and the women are about six inches shorter. The hair is black or dark brown, coarse, straight, and grows to an extraordinary length. The face is oval; forehead higher than amongst the coast tribes. Eyes black and bright; nose frequently aquiline amongst the men, but broad and thick in the women; cheek bones high and prominent; mouth large, with thick lips, and the teeth large and good. The senses of sight and hearing are highly developed. These people are well made, active, and capable of great endurance. The complexion is rather lighter than that of the Cowitchan. The men change little with age, but the women age early and rapidly. The intellect, though of no very high order, is decidedly superior to that of the coast tribes.
Like all other Indians, the Selish are inveterate gamblers; they are, however, brave, honest, polite, unobtrusive, and dutiful to their parents. No difficulty or disturbance arose during the eighteen months the Commission spent amongst them, and parties of two or three used to travel about with perfect safety; yet many of these were the same tribes which had given the Americans so much trouble in the
years 1857–58. The language is not near so guttural as the Cowitchan, and is much more readily picked up by a stranger. As far as could be learnt, there was little or no grammatical construction.
There are a great many very curious and pretty legends among the Selish, in all of which the “Coyati,” or small prairie wolf, is the most conspicuous figure. One tradition is that the present sun is only a portion of an old one which existed years before any man lived, and was broken in some mysterious way by the little Wolf.
The Kootenays inhabit the country watered by the Kootenay, Flatbow, or, as it is sometimes called, McGillivray's River, and are divided into two tribes, the “Akishkinookaniks," or Upper Kootenays, living immediately at the base of the Rocky Mountains, in that part of the country commonly known as the Tabacco Plains, numbering about 450; and the “Akuchoklacktas," or Lower Kootenays, scattered over the country from the southernmost point of the great bend of the Kootenay near Chelempta, northwards to the Kootenay Lakes, and numbering about 200, making a total of 650.
From the shortness of time spent in the Kootenay country, but few particulars could be learnt about this very interesting tribe, which, speaking a widely different language, and walled in by high ranges of mountains, is entirely isolated, and has had far less intercourse with the whites than any of the surrounding tribes.
The Kootenays were decidedly the finest race of Indians met with during the progress of the Commission : the men were tall, averaging five feet nine inches, with sharp features, aquiline noses, black hair and eyes, and very long black eyelashes, which form one of the most striking peculiarities in their appearance. They bear the reputation of being brave, honest, and truthful, and pride themselves on the fact that no white man has ever been killed by one of their tribe. Though naturally quiet and inoffensive, when occasion demands they show themselves inferior to none in all warlike accomplishments, and, notwithstanding the small number of their tribe, manage to hold their own against the Blackfeet in the frequent skirmishes which take place on the common hunting-ground.
The chiefs are much respected, and have great authority amongst their own particular portion of the tribe. The lodges, canoes, arms, &c., as well as the habits, customs, and general mode of life, are the same as those of the Selish; and what has been said of the latter in these respects may be equally applied to the Kootenays. The "Little Wolf” also occupies the same prominent position in their legends.
July 4th, John CRAWFURD, Esq., President, in the chair. The paper of the evening was by Dr. Donovan, “On Craniology and Phrenology in relation to Ethnology." The aim of the writer was to insist on the importance of the subject, to invite discussion, to place in a clear light the fundamental facts and deductions of the science, and
answer some of the more prominent objections of those who are opposed to its claims; and in these respects the paper fulfilled its objects very satisfactorily. It commented on the labours of the modern school of craniologists, insisting on the futility of such inquiries when not conjoined with the study of cerebral functions, and expressing astonishment that such minute attention should be bestowed on the mere casket which enclosed the treasure, while that alone which could possibly give it value was so greatly neglected. The writer also availed himself of some testimonies to the reasonableness of the fundamental principles of phrenology given by eminent men, who, he contended, could have had no undue bias in favour of a doctrine which they refused to accept as a whole, and particularly instanced Hugh Miller, from whom he gave a very interesting quotation, and Dr. Whately, the late Archbishop of Dublin.
The chairman, in inviting discussion on the paper, expressed his entire dissent from the doctrines of phrenology, commenting on the impossibility of tracing in the brain any divisions equivalent to the phrenological organs, and the further impossibility of detecting the precise shape of the brain through its various coverings.
Mr. Wallace, on being called on by the chairman, stated his disappointment that the paper had scarcely touched the ethnological bearings of phrenology, the point of main interest to the Society. At the same time he declared his own conviction, based on careful thought and observation, that the main doctrines of phrenology were thoroughly sound, though he was by no means prepared to go the lengths of its special supporters.
Mr. Hodgson, in an address of great earnestness, reviewed the objections raised by the previous speakers, exhibiting a complete familiarity with the subject, and giving a very able and eloquent exposition and defence of its doctrines.
Mr. Dunn, on being appealed to by Dr. Donovan, also emphatically declared himself in favour of the science, on the basis of the pathological facts observed by himself and recorded by others, as well as upon those of developmental anatomy, both comparative and human, and quite irrespective of the numerous cranioscopical observations of Gall, Spurzheim, Combe, and Carus.
After some remarks by Dr. Wild, who gave a case illustrative of the practical value of phrenology, some controversy arose as to the further continuance of the discussion, the chairman deciding on its termination, as the Council had promised a short space of time to a paper by Professor Bell, on what he termed Visible Speech.