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nate with some historical fact or fanciful tradition, this title of Sin-yal-min is passing into disuse, having been superceded by the very commonplace and meaningless name of the "Mission" Mountains and Valley. In their religious zeal and pious desire to destroy every trace of that paganism which it was their aim to kill, root and branch, the early Jesuit fathers supplanted the old names with others symbolical of the Catholic faith. The loss of sentiment and fitness has been great, and before it is too late, the ancient designations, with their wealth of suggestion, should be restored. Happily, some of the Indian names, such as Missoula, a corruption of In-Mis-Sou-Let-ka, remain, and to each of them is attached a story replete with tradition and poetical imagery. Of all the many myths of the Selish there is none more touching nor spiritual than that of the sacred pine which runs thus:
The Sacred Pine.
Upon the hills of the Jocko stands a venerable pine tree. It has been there past the memory of the great-grandfathers of the present generation, and from time immemorial it has been held sacred by the Selish tribe. High upon its branches hangs the horn of a big horn sheep, fixed there so firmly by an unknown hand that the blizzard has not been strong enough to wrest it from its place nor the corroding frost to gnaw it away. No one knows whence the sheep's horn came, nor what it signifies, but the tree is held in reverence, and the Indians believe that it possesses supernatural powers. Offerings are made to it of moccasins, beads, weasel skins (ermine), and such little treasures of wearing apparel or handiwork as the givers most esteem, and at certain seasons, beneath the cool, sweet shadow of its spreading boughs, the simple worshipers assemble to dance with religious fervor around its bole upon the green, thus doing honor to the old, beloved object of their devotion, in the primitive, pagan way.
A patriarch of the Flathead Tribe
Last summer at the time when the sun reached his greatest strength, according to ancient custom the Selish gathered to
gether to dance. In this celebration is embodied the spirit of the tribe, their pride, their hates and loves. But this dance had a peculiar significance. It was, perhaps, the last that the people would hold. Another year the white man will occupy the land, and the free, roving life and its habits will be gone.
It was a scene never to be forgotten. Sharply outlined against the intense blue. above and the tender green below, silent figures on horseback, gay with buckskin, beads and blankets, rode out of the filmy distance into the setting sun and took their places around the musicians on the grass. There were among them the most distinguished men of the tribe. Joe La Mousse, a descendant of Ignace, the Iroquois, grown to an honored old age, watched the younger generation with the simple dignity which became one of his years and rank. He possessed the richest war dress of all, strung with elks' teeth and resplendent with the feathers of the war eagle. He, with Charlot, met the Nez Perces and repudiated their bloody campaign. Francois and Kai-Kai-She, judge, both patriarchs, and Chief Antoine Moise, Callup-Squal-She, "Crane with a ring around his neck," who followed Charlot to Washington on his mission of protest, moved and mingled in the bright patch-work of groups upon the green. But towering above the rest of the assembly, regal to the point of austerity, was a man, aged but still erect, as though his strength of pride would never let his shoulders stoop beneath the conquering years. He wore his blanket folded closely around him, and fanned himself with an eagle's wing, the emblem of the warrior. One eye was hidden beneath a white film which shut out its sight forever, but the other, coal-black and piercing, met the stranger gaze for gaze, never flinching, never turning aside. It was Charlot. Though an exile, his head was still unbent, his pride unbroken.
Beneath a clump of cottonwood trees, around the tom-tom, a drum made of deer hide stretched over a hollowed section of green tree, sat the four musicians, beating the time of the chant with sticks bound in strips of cloth. Of these players one was blind, another aged, and the remaining two, in holiday attire, with painted lips
and cheeks, were braves. One of these, seated a trifle higher than his companions, who leaned indolently over the tom-tom, plying his sticks with careless grace, possessed a peculiar magnetism which marked him a leader.
Of all that gathering, this Michel Kaiser was the one perfect full-blood specimen of a brave. It was he who, with suppressed energy, flung back his head as he gave the shrill cry and quickened the beat of the tom-tom until louder and louder, faster and faster swelled the chant:
"Come O! ye people! Come and dance!”*
Suddenly a brave, painted grotesquely, dressed in splendid colors, with a curious contrivance fastened about his waist, and standing out behind like a tail, bounded into the ring, his hurrying feet beating to the tintinnabulation of sleigh bells attached to his legs. Michel Kaiser and the young man who sat beside him at the tomtom, gave up their places to others, and after disappearing for a moment came forth freed from encumbering blankets, transformed with paint and ornament. A fourth dancer joined them, and the awebegetting war dance began. The movement was one of restrained force. With bent heads and bodies inclined forward, one arm hanging limp and the other resting easily at the back, they tripped along until a war-whoop like an electric shock sent them springing into the air with faces turned upward and clenched fists lifted toward the sky.
This war dance explained many things. It was a portrayal of the glorious deeds of the warriors, a recitation of victorious achievement, a picture of battle, of striking the body of a fallen enemy-one of the greatest tests of valor. The act of striking was considered a far more gallant feat than the taking of a scalp. After a foe was shot and had fallen, a brave seeking distinction, dashed forth from his own band into the open field, and under the deadly rain of the enemy's arrows, struck with his hand the body of the dead or wounded warrior. In doing this he not only courted the desperate danger of that present moment, but brought upon his head the relentless vengeance of the family, the followers and the tribe of the
fallen foe vengeance of a kind that can wait for years without growing cold. By such inspiring examples, the young men. were stirred to emulation. The dance showed, too, how in the past the storm clouds of war gathered slowly until, with lightning flash and thunder blast, warriors lashed themselves to the white heat of frenzy at which they mocked death. The whole thing seemed to be a marshaling of the passions, a blood-fire as irresistible and sweeping as those floods of flame that lay the forests low.
when the ghostly voices of warrior ancestors, of forest dwellers and huntsmen, came echoing out of the past? Their spirit was aroused and the festival would last until the passion was quenched and their veins were cooled.
The next dance was started by a squaw. It was called the "choosing dance," from the fact that either a man or a woman chose a partner for the figure. The ceremony of invitation was simple. The one who desired to invite another, grasped the individual's arm and said briefly: