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.