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Round-up of the Allard-Pablo herd of Buffalo, Flathead Reservation

old age,

gether to dance. In this celebration is em- and cheeks, were braves. One of these, bodied the spirit of the tribe, their pride, seated a trifle higher than his companions, their hates and loves. But this dance had who leaned indolently over the tom-tom, a peculiar significance. It was, perhaps, plying his sticks with careless grace, posthe last that the people would hold. An- sessed a peculiar magnetism which marked other year the white man will occupy the him a leader. land, and the free, roving life and its hab

Of all that gathering, this Michel Kaiser its will be gone.

was the one perfect full-blood specimen of It was a scene never to be forgotten. a brave. It was he who, with suppressed Sharply outlined against the intense blue energy, flung back his head as he gave the above and the tender green below, silent shrill cry and quickened the beat of the figures on horseback, gay with buckskin, tom-tom until louder and louder, faster beads and blankets, rode out of the filmy and faster swelled the chant: distance into the setting sun and took their places around the musicians on the Come O! ye people! Come and dance !". grass. There were among them the most distinguished men of the tribe. Joe La Suddenly a brave, painted grotesquely, Mousse, a descendant of Ignace, the Iro- dressed in splendid colors, with a curious quois, grown to an honored

contrivance fastened about his waist, and watched the younger generation with the standing out behind like a tail, bounded simple dignity which became one of his into the ring, his hurrying feet beating to years and rank. He possessed the richest the tintinnabulation of sleigh bells atwar dress of all, strung with elks' teeth tached to his legs. Michel Kaiser and the and resplendent with the feathers of the

young man who sat beside him at the tomwar eagle. He, with Charlot, met the Nez tom, gave up their places to others, and Perces and repudiated their bloody cam- after disappearing for a moment came paign. Francois and Kai-Kai-She, the forth freed from encumbering blankets, judge, both patriarchs, and Chief Antoine transformed with paint and ornament. A Moise, Callup-Squal-She, “Crane with a fourth dancer joined them, and the awering around his neck,” who followed begetting war dance began. The moveCharlot to Washington on his mission of ment was one of restrained force. With protest, moved and mingled in the bright bent heads and bodies inclined forward, patch-work of groups upon the green. one arm hanging limp and the other restBut towering above the rest of the assem- ing easily at the back, they tripped along bly, regal to the point of austerity, was until a war-whoop like an electric shock a man, aged but still erect, as though his sent them springing into the air with faces strength of pride would

let his turned upward and clenched fists lifted shoulders stoop beneath the conquering toward the sky. years. He wore his blanket folded closely This war dance explained many things. around him, and fanned himself with an It was a portrayal of the glorious deeds of eagle's wing, the emblem of the warrior. the warriors, a recitation of victorious One eye was hidden beneath a white film achievement, a picture of battle, of strikwhich shut out its sight forever, but the ing the body of a fallen enemy-one of other, coal-black and piercing, met the the greatest tests of valor. The act of stranger gaze for gaze, never flinching, striking was considered a far more gallant never turning aside. It

Charlot. feat than the taking of a scalp. After a

a Though an exile, his head was still unbent, foe was shot and had fallen, a brave seekhis pride unbroken.

ing distinction, dashed forth from his own Beneath a clump of cottonwood trees, band into the open field, and under the around the tom-tom, a drum made of deer deadly rain of the enemy's arrows, struck hide stretched over a hollowed section of with his hand the body of the dead or green tree, sat the four musicians, beating wounded warrior. In doing this he not the time of the chant with sticks bound in only courted the desperate danger of that strips of cloth. Of these players one was present moment, but brought upon his blind, another aged, and the remaining head the relentless vengeance of the famtwo, in holiday attire, with painted lips ily, the followers and the tribe of the


fallen foe-vengeance of a kind that can when the ghostly voices of warrior anceswait for years without growing cold. By tors, of forest dwellers and huntsmen, such inspiring examples, the young men came echoing out of the past? Their were stirred to emulation. The dance spirit was aroused and the festival would showed, too, how in the past the storm last until the passion was quenched and clouds of war gathered slowly until, with their veins were cooled. lightning flash and thunder blast, the The next dance was started by a squaw. warriors lashed themselves to the white It was called the “choosing dance," fro: heat of frenzy at which they mocked the fact that either a man or a woman death. The whole thing seemed to be a chose a partner for the figure. The ceremarshaling of the passions, a blood-fire as mony of invitation was simple. The one irresistible and sweeping as those floods of who desired to invite another, grasped the flame that lay the forests low.

individual's arm and said briefly:

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The warriors ceased their mad career. “Dance!” The sweat streamed from their brows The couples formed two circles around and down their cheeks as they sat beneath the tom-tom, one within the other, then the shade trees in repose. Still the tom- slowly the two rings moved 'round and tom heat and the chant continued. 'round, with a kind of short, springing

Come, O! ye people! Come and step, droning the never-varying chant. At dance!

the end of the dance the one who had They needed no urging now. What chosen his partner, presented him with a did they care for vespers and sermons gift. In some cases a horse or a cow

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was bestowed, and not infrequently blan- warriors whose spoil they were, and after kets and the most cherished bead-work a time, when they began to mortify or belts and hat-bands. Custom makes the “break down,” as the Indians say, the triacceptance of these favors compulsory. umphant squaws gathered them together, Even the pale-faced visitors were asked to threw them into the dust and stamped on take part, and the Indians laughed like them, heaping upon them every insult, pleased children to welcome them to the and in the weird ceremony of that ghouldance. One very old squaw, Mrs. “Nine ish dance, consigning them to eternal Pipes,” took her blanket from her body darkness, for no brave without his scalp and her ’kerchief from her head to give could enter the Happy Hunting Ground. to her white partner, and a brave, having The chant changed in this figure. The chosen a pale-faced lady for the figure, voices of the women rose in a piercing faland being depleted in fortune by his gen- setto, broken by a rapid utterance of the erosity at a former festival, borrowed single syllable"la la," repeated an infifty cents from a richer companion to credible length of time. The effect was bestow upon her. It was all done in the singularly savage and strange, emphasizbest of faith and friendliness, with child- ing the barbarous joy of the vengeful wolike good will and pleasure in the doing.

As the war dance was the call to Then the next number was called; battle, this was the aftermath. In pleasthose who had been honored with invita- ing contrast to this cruel rite was the tions and gifts returned the compliment. marriage dance, celebrated by both belles After this was done, the Master of the and braves. The young squaws, in their Dance, Michel Kaiser, stepped into the gayest attire, ornamented with the best center of the circle, saying in the deep samples of their bead work and painted gutturals of the Selish tongue, with all bright vermillion about the lips and the pomp of one who makes a proclama- cheeks, formed a chain around the tomtion, something which may be broadly tom, singing shrilly. Then a brave with rendered into these English words: a party of his friends stepped within the

“This brave, Jerome, chose for his part- circle, bearing in his hand a stick, genner, Mary, and gave to her a belt of beads, erally a small branch of pine or other and Mary chose for her partner, Jerome, native tree. He approached the object of and gave to him a silken scarf."

his love, and laid the branch on her Around the circumference of the great shoulder. If she rejected his suit she ring he moved, crying aloud the names of pushed it aside, and he, with his followers, the braves and maids who had joined to- retired in huniliation and chagrin. It gether in the dance, and holding up to often happened that more than one youth view the presents they had exchanged. desired the hand of the same maiden, and

The next in order was a dance of the the place of the rejected lover was taken chase by the four young men who had immediately by a rival who made his performed the war dance. In this, the


If the maid looked with favor hunter and the beast pursued, were imper- upon him she inclined her head, laying sonated, and the pantomime carried out her cheek upon the branch. This was at every detail of the fleeing prey and the once the betrothal and the marriage. At crafty huntsman who relentlessly drove the close of the festivities the lover bore him to earth.

her to his lodge, and they were considered The fourth measure

the scalp

man and wife. dance, given by the squaws, a rite an- After these figures had been repeated ciently practiced by the female members

many times and twilight stole down with of families whose lords had returned vic- purple shadows over valley and hill, the torious from battle, hearing as trophies the music and the dancing ceased and the Inscalps of enemies they had slain. It was dians held their feast. The fare was simconsidered an indignity and a matter of ple enough-canned salmon and crackers, just reproach to husband or brother, if a wild berries and a drink made

by the squaw were unable to take part in this

squaws, called "Indian ice-cream”—but dance. The scalps captured in war were they laughed over it and chatted as gaily first displayed outside the lodges of the as though the old times of bison banquets

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were come again. Yet amid the merry- There was no bitterness in her expresmakers there were those who did not sion or her tone-only infinite regret. share in the mirth. They were some of

The Indians began to stir. They rose the older men; those with gray locks, from the earth like ghosts from their wrinkled cheeks and hunted eyes.

graves, for the light was gone from the I went to one of the younger women, sunset skies and night was at hand. the daughter of Francois, whose convent Through the evening calm, the monotoeducation gave her a fair command of nous chant shrilled weirdly, and the tomEnglish, and asked her how the Indians tom vibrated with the regularity of a felt about the opening of the reservation. pulse-beat. And as that strange, She shook her head regretfully, and her earthly measure swelled, then died in the glance scught out her father, Francois, engulfing night, it seemed as though the toothless, white-haired, yet laughing with ancestral voices of these doomed children a group of the dancers.

of the wild joined with them in a lament


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“The young Indians do not care," she that even the weight of centuries could answered. "They gamble, and would not still, for a wrong for which not even rather have the money to lose than land, the promised recompense of the hereafter but the old men like my father, their could atone. hearts are breaking.”

“Still your father smiles.”

“His lips smile, but there are tears in his heart. In a few years he and the There will be great rejoicing in the auothers of his age will be gone; then the tumn when the flood-gates are flung open change will not matter. It is a pity the wide, and the pale, white tide flows in white people could not wait a little while." like a mighty river, spreading over valley,


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