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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. 259

out Sustenance, and nights without any covering but bushes and snow.

TEE TACITURNITY OF THE INDIANS

The extreme taciturnity of the Indians was one of their most striking characteristics. We shall explain it in different ways according as we sup- pose, that the Indian was made to fit the circum- stances in which he was to be placed, or that he was made like other men, and that the circum- stances changed him. On the latter supposition he has learned to be silent, from the fact that silence is so necessary for him while prowling through the woods in search of game, or watching against an ambuscade on the part of an enemy.

But talkativeness is the result of a peculiar mental organization, leading to a lively and rapid flow of ideas,, ardent sensibilities, and a quick and ready action of the nerves and muscles that are connected with the organs of speech. All this nice mechanism would be out of place, in a great meas- ure, with these children of the forest; and, indeed, would be worse than out of place, for it might be, necessarily for aught we know, connected with greater sensibility to pain, which to the Indian would be a very serious evil.

We might suppose, it is true, that the inward



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