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Constitution of the Indian Mind

American History, Volume I: Aboriginal America (New York: Sheldon, 1860)


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OF THE INDIAN MIND. 263

mother and of the children, and then gave himself up to be burnt to death by a process protracted as long as possible, while his enemies feasted and danced around the fire.

THE PRACTICE OF SCALPING.

The practice which prevailed among all the native- tribes of North America of taking off the scalps of enemies slain in battle, and preserving them as trophies of victory, has generally been considered a special token of the barbarous cruelty of the Indian character. The practice, it is true, presents a most shocking image to our imaginations, yet, when we reflect upon it, it does not seem to denote any special and peculiar cruelty. It is barbarous, without doubt, yet still perhaps not pecially and peculiarly so.

ORIGIN OF THE PRACTICE.

The practice arose very naturally from the custom that prevails universally among all hunting savages, and indeed among all hunting men, whether savage or civilized, of obtaining from the body of the animal slain something to be preserved as a trophy of the prowess of the hunter in killing him. A barbarous hunter wears the trophies thus itained upon his person. A civilized one bangs



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