Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Native Americans Reverence for the Dead

Native Americans Reverence for the Dead




Human Bones. — Among certain Native Americans the bones of the de- 
ceased are preserved with a peculiar religious care, and considered sacred. 
The Cha'hta formerly had special men, whose nails had grown long, ap- 
pointed to disinter bodies buried for several months or a year, to scratch 
off with their hands the flesh still adhering, and then to deposit the bones, 
done up in a new mat, in the bone-house, of which there was one in every 
town. How far this custom extended through North America is not easy 
to state, but we find it among the Santees, Nanticokes, Mohawks, and, west 
of the Mississippi River, among the Shetimashas of Southern Louisiana.