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S¢ience, Art, and History.
OUR SKET OH-BOOK ABROAD.
II.-THE ARCTIC REGIONS - THE ESQUIMAUX.
JONTINUING our notice of the as pronounced by the modern Innuits, which
Esquimaux, our readers will be means white man. A second attempt of the
As a general statement, it may be said that customs, gathered from the narrative of Capt. the Innuits, among themselves, are strictly C. F. Hall, in his “ Life with the Esquimaux." honest. The same may be said as between
The Esquimaux are, in their own language, them and strangers—that is, whites, though called In-nu-it—that is, "the people.” In-nu, with some modification. The Innuits bave an in the singular number, signifies "man;" in impression that the kodlunas (white people). the plural, In-nu-it, “people," " the people," or possess plenty-that is, plenty of iron, wood, (as they understand it) our people” as dis- beads, knives, needles, &c., which is the reason tinguished from foreigners.
why the Innuits, whenever they meet with The appellation "Esquimaux"-of which the whites, always cry "pil-e-tay! pil-e-tay! "give! traders' term “Husky” is a mere corruption, give!” And the word kodlunas, in fact, sigis obviously derived from some Algic dialect, nifies not only " white people,” but the people doubtless from the Chippeway or the Cree. who always have plenty.
In the Chippeway, ush-ke signifies "raw.” In Children are sometimes betrothed by their the same language, um-wau signifies “ he eats.” parents in infancy. The young people have From these elements we readily form the word nothing to do with it. The old men make the ush-ke-um-wau, “raw he eats.” And a noun
marriage entirely. When the betrothal is derived from this verb, as a national denomina- made, the couple can live together at any tion, must be some such form as Aish-ke-um-oog, time, usually decided by the ability of the man "raw.flesh-eaters;” the double o being long, to support the woman. In other cases, when like oa in boat. Use has softened this name a young man thinks well of a young woman, into Es-ke-moog (pronounced Es-ke-moag). he proposes to take her for his wife. If both
According to Innuit mythology, the first man are agreed, and the parents of the girl consent, was a failure that is, was imperfect, though they become one. There is no wedding cere. made by the Great Being; therefore he was mony at all, nor are there any rejoicings or cast aside and called kob-lu-na, or kod-lu-na, festivities.
There generally exists between husband and under and through the skin by means of a wife a steady, but not very demonstrative affec- needle. The thread is only used as a means tion, though the woman is frequently subjected of introducing the colour or pigment under to violent usage by reason of some sudden the epidermis. outbreak of temper on the man's part, and The longevity of this people, on the whole, though, when she is near her death, he leaves in latter years is not great. The average her alone to die.
duration of life among them is much less Male children are desired in preference to than formerly. The time was, and that not females, but no difference is made in their long ago, when there were many, very many treatment, and there are always rejoicings and old people, but now they are very few. congratulatory visits when an infant is born. The Innuit social life is simple and cheerful. Immediately after the birth, the infant's head They have a variety of games of their own. must be firmly squeezed side to side with the In one of these they use a number of bits of hands, and a little skin cap placed tightly over ivory, made in the form of ducks, &c. In the compressed head, which is to be kept there another, a simple string is used in a variety of for one year.
The infants are nursed until intricate ways, now representing a tuktoo, three or four years of age.
The children, now a whale, now a walrus, now a seal, being when old enough, find their amusement in arranged upon the fingers in a way bearing playing with toys made of bone and ivory, in a general resemblance to the game known the forms of various animals. When older, among us as “cat's cradle.” The people were the boys are educated in rowing, hunting, and very quick in learning of Captain Hall to play sealing; the girls are taught to trim the fire- chess, checkers, and dominoes. light and keep it burning, to cook, dress Innuit opinions upon theological questions leather, sew, help row the comiens, and to do are not easily obtained in an intelligible form. various other kinds of work.
Their belief on some points may be thus very For a certain length of time after a child is generally stated. There is one Supreme Being, born, the mother must remain in her own called by them Ang-u-ta, who created the earth, home, visiting no other tupic or igloo. The sea, and heavenly bodies. There is also a period for which this limitation holds good secondary divinity, a woman, the daughter of varies, sometimes reaching to the length of Anguta, who is called Sid-ne. She is supposed two months. At the expiration of the time, to have created all things having life, animal she makes a round of calls at all the dwellings and vegetable. She is regarded also as the about, having first changed all her clothing. protecting divinity of the Innuit people. To She never touches again that which she throws her their supplications are addressed; to her off on this occasion, and which she has worn their offerings are made; while most of their since the birth of the child. Another custom religious rites and perstitious observances forbids the mother to eat by herself for a year have reference to her. after the birth of the child. When asked The Innuits believe in a heaven and a hell, the reason of this, the only reply was, “The though their notions as to what is to constifirst Innuits did so." In respect to Innuit tute their happiness or misery hereafter are customs in general, it may be observed that varied as one meets with different communities. they are often adhered to from fear of ill They have a tradition of a deluge, which report among their people. The only reason they attribute to an unusually high tide. On that can be given for some of the present cus- one occasion, when Captain Hall was speaking toms is that "the old Innuits did so, and there. with a native concerning her people, she said, fore they must.”
“Innuits all think this earth once covered The women, generally, are tattooed on the with water.” He asked her why they thought forehead, cheeks, and chin. This is usually so. She answered, “Did you never see little a mark of the married women, though un- stones like clams, and such things as live in married ones are sometimes seen thus orna- the sea, away up on the mountains ?” mented. This tattooing is done from principle, The subject of the religious ideas and obthe theory being that the lines thus made servances of the Innuits is nearly connected will be regarded in the next world as a sign with that of their angekos, who have a great of goodness. The manner of the operation influence among them, and exercise the only is simple. A piece of reindeer-sinew thread authority to which they in any degree submit. is blackened with soot, and is then drawn With regard to these angekos, Captain Hall
thinks that any man or woman could become either as a plaything or in any work it did, is such if shrewd enough to obtain a mental placed in or upon its grave. ascendancy over others.
There exist also among the Innuits many The angeko’s business is twofold: he minis- curious customs connected with hunting. ters in behalf of the sick, and in behalf of the They cannot go out to take walrus until they community in general. If a person falls ill, have done working upon tuktoo clothing; and the angeko is sent for. He comes, and before after beginning the walrus hunt, no one is proceeding to his peculiar work, demands pay- allowed to work on reindeer skins. ment for his services, stating his price, usually When a walrus is caught, the captor must some article to which he has taken a liking. remain at home, doing no work, for one day; Whatever he demands must be given at once, if a bear is killed, he must remain quiet, in otherwise the expected good result of the like manner, for three days; after the taking ministration would not follow.
of a whale, two days. If, however he is on a When the preliminary arrangements have hunt, and game is plentiful, the Innuit frebeen satisfactorily disposed of, the family of quently keeps on at the sport, making up all the sick person sit around the couch of the his resting days at the end of the hunt. patient, and with earnestness and gravity join When a seal is captured, a few drops of in the ceremonies. The angeko commences water are sprinkled on its head before it is cut a talking and singing, the nature of which it up. If there is no water to be had, the man is impossible to state more precisely than to holds snow in his hands till he squeezes out a say that it seems to be a kind of incantation single drop, the application of which answers or prolonged supplication, perhaps mingled every purpose. with formulas which are supposed to charm Women are not allowed to eat of the first away the disease. At intervals during this seal of the season, and this rule is so strictly performance the family respond, frequently enforced that they do not feel at liberty even uttering a word corresponding to our amen. to chew the blubber for the sake of expressing As to medicine, none is ever prescribed, nor the oil. do the Innuits ever take any.
There is a regular order for cutting up a The duties of the angeko with reference to walrus. The first man who arrives at the capthe community, consist in ankooting for suc- tured animal cuts off the right arm or flipper ; cess in whaling, walrusing, sealing, and in the second, the left arm; the third, the right hunting certain animals; for the disappear- leg or flipper; the fourth, the left leg; the fifth, ance of ice; and for the public good in various a portion of the body, beginning at the neck, particulars. These more public ministrations and so on till the whole is disposed of. are accompanied by what sounds to a stranger's One
very curious custom among the Innuits ear like howling, but is doubtless a formula, is this. At a time of the year apparently either handed down by tradition, or composed answering to our Christmas, they have a on the spot by the angeko, varying according general meeting in a large igloo on a certain to the talent of the operator. The Innuits evening. There the angeko prays on behalf consider that in proportion to the value of of the people for the public prosperity through what they give for an angeko's services, so the subsequent year. Then follows something are the benefits conferred upon the sick. like a feast. The next day all go out into the "Make poor pay, and the help is poor; good open air and form in a circle; in the centre is pay, and the benefit is great."
placed a vessel of water, and each member of Many of the customs which have relation to the company brings a piece of meat, the kind the religious belief of the Innuits, can be ex- being immaterial. The circle being formed, plained only by the broad phrase, “The first each person eats his or her meat in silence, Innuits did so.” When they kill a reindeer, thinking of Sidne, and wishing for good things. and have skinned it, they cut off bits of Then one in the circle takes a cup, dips up different parts of the animal, and bury them some of the water, all the time thinking of under a sod, or some moss, or a stone, at the Sidne, and drinks it; and then, before passing exact spot where the animal was killed. When the cup to another, states audibly the time and an Innuit passes the place where a relative has the place of his or her birth. This ceremony died, he pauses, and deposits a piece of meat is performed by all in succession. Finally,
presents of various articles are thrown from When a child dies, everything it has used, one to another, with the idea that each will
receive of Sidne good things in proportion to and all that they can tell is derived from oral the liberality here shown.
tradition, handed down from parent to child Soon after this occasion, at a time which for many generations. The pronunciation of answers to our New Year's Day, two men start the same words by Esquimaux living a conout, one of them being dressed to represent a siderable distance apart, and having little woman, and go to every igloo in the village, intercourse, is so different that they can hardly blowing out the light in each. The lights are understand each other on coming together. afterwards rekindled from a fresh fire. When Captain Hall asked a native the meaning of
ARCTIC SCENES. this, the reply was, “New sun-new light,” We must defer the completion of our sketch implying a belief that the sun was at that of Esquimaux customs till our next paper. time renewed for the year.
Space only remains to append a few passages The language of the Esquimaux is peculiar from M-Dougall’s “Voyage of the Resolute," to themselves. They have nothing written, I explanatory of the accompanying illustrations.
"As the severity of the weather increased during the winter, each man stretched his ingenuity to the utmost to invent a 'face protector;' for the face is peculiarly sensitive, particularly the nose, cheek-bones, and cbin, whilst the under eyelid comes in occasionally for a frost-bite.
“As always happens where many turn their attention to the same subject, the number produced was great, and the shapes varied according to the ideas of the designer, who, by-the-bye, invariably proclaimed
the superiority of his own invention, by wearing it even at the expense of being frequently frost-bitten.
“The old cover, used by the Expedition of 1850–51, was simply a piece of cloth lined with lambskin or flannel, cut so as to cover the whole of the cheeks, leaving an aperture for the nose, which in its turn was covered with an angular piece of the same materials. This was found to answer very well, and was the prevailing fashion for some time; but as it was necessary to secure it round the head previous to