How did the Indians do things? How did they make their canoes, tipis, traps, bark lodges, and war bonnets? How did they treat women, marry, talk, and dress? How did they hunt, use the peace pipe, perform the sun dance, make magic, gather medicine, and send signals? All these Hows
and many more are described in this book by Arthur C. Parker (Gawaso Wanneh) from his personal experience and knowledge of Indian life. Each of the 74 sections on how the Indians did something is a fascinating and revealing exposition of Indian lore including many little-known facts.
Before the advent of the iron ax, for example, Indians used to cut down trees with a combination of fire and stone hatchets and before iron wire came into being, they made fishhooks from the leg or wine bone of a large bird. The author explains these and many other processes in detail. If you wish, you can make your own canoe, tan buckskin, or Indian design. You will also learn the true behavior of Indians, such as: how they were not taciturn (as pictured in numerous erroneous movies) but laughed and joked much of the time; how many Indians were not nomadic hunters but settlers who got most of their food from farming; and how, in general, Indians were not savages but native Americans who had a culture of their own with an educational system and the land, a religious belief in the spirits of the other world, and a veneration of the values of courage, integrity, honor, and generosity.
For anyone with little or no knowledge of the American Indian, this book will be a revelation and a challenge to our modern way of life. For readers who have some acquaintance with Indian history or anthropology, this book offers a practical guide to over 70 of the crafts, methods, and activities of these first and best American naturalists. When it comes to getting closer to the land in body or in spirit, there is no better teacher than the American Indian.
Reprint of the 1931 edition.