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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. 265

that would lead them to defer taking a scalp till after death from motives of humanity, but only that in ordinary cases they would be compelled to do so. It would, of course, be very seldom that a scalp could be taken from a victim while he was alive.

CUSTOMS CONNECTED WITH THE PRACTICE OF SCALPING.

The portion of the skin which was taken from the head, in scalping an enemy was quite small, only a few inches in diameter. All that was essential was that it should include the crown of the head—that is, the central point from which the hair separates. The hair itself, however, which grew from the other parts of the head was usually cut off too, especially if it was long, and suitable to be worked into fringes and other such ornaments.

A scalp, when taken from the head, was first stretched in a sort of hoop to keep the skin dis- tended while drying. This hoop was formed upon the end of a long pole by bending the end round into a circle, first cutting away a portion of the ood at the end to make it sufficiently flexible. The scalp was placed in the center of this hoop, and fastened there by strings passing out in every direction to the circumference—the long hair hanging down the pole. The pole served, of



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