Geology and Palaeontology

1877 American Naturalist  
The pyre was built of cedar logs. The foundation consisted of two logs about five feet long and ten inches in diameter, laid parallel to each other, and about two feet apart. Upon these was placed transversely a layer of shorter logs of a less diameter, with interstices between them through which the flames could penetrate from below. This base was surmounted by a small superstructure of cedar crib-work, large enough to contain the corpse and its mortuary habiliments. Into this the remains were
more » ... is the remains were placed and covered with small sticks of wood. Near the windward side of this pile were laid two boards, along which were ranged the singing warriors; the only office of these boards appeared to be that of furnishing a hard, resonant surface upon which the staves they used to indicate the measure of their chant could fall. Close by the crib was a pile of spruce and cedar, finely split, in order that it might burn more rapidly. The mourning relatives were seated on the ground with their backs turned toward the pyre, and about thirty feet distant. At last the torch was applied to the resinous tinder, the warriors began anew their melancholy dirge, the mourners, whose loud lamentations bad before sunk to a low sobbing, now broke forth afresh into heart-rending wails. Several hours were occupied in the entire consumption of the pile, during which the chanting never ceased, but after a time the outward grief of the bereaved was confined to weeping and subdued sobs. When the fire had died out the remaining ashes and cinders were carefully collected and laid in their final resting-place. The cinerary urn consisted of a small house built after the model of their huts, being about three feet long by two feet wide, and two high, and placed about ten or twelve feet above the ground on four posts. These dead houses are often carved and painted on the exterior in the most cabalistic manner. It was formerly the custom among these Indians to kill a number of slaves upon the occasion of the death of one of their tribe, but the military authorities of the United States have suppressed the barbarous practice since their occupation of the territory. These slaves are prisoners of war, taken from other tribes, and their bondage is hereditary. The number of slaves sacrificed depended upon the rank of the deceased. GEOLOGY AND PAL&EONTOLOGY.
doi:10.1086/271908 fatcat:kaz5uky435fvdov7via6baasem