U. S. Natl. Mus., Rep. For 1895


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An Indian went mountain-goat hunting. When he had reached a remote mountain range, he met a black bear, who took him to his home, taught him how to catch salmon, and how to build canoes. For two years the man stayed with the bear; then he returned to his own village. The people were afraid of him, because he looked just like a bear. One man, however, caught him and took him home. He could not speak and could not eat anything but raw food. Then they rubbed him with magic herbs, and gradually he was retransformed into the shape of a man. After this, whenever he was in want, he called his friend the bear, who came to assist him. In winter when the rivers were frozen, he alone was able to catch salmon. He built a house and painted the bear on the house front. His sister made a dancing blanket, the design of which represented a bear. Therefore the descendants of his sisters use the bear for their crest.

It is evident that legends of this character correspond almost exactly to the tales of the acquisition of manitous among the Eastern Indians, and they are evidence that the totem of this group of tribes is, in the main, the hereditary manitou of a family.1

In the course of time legends are thus developed identifying sib descent with an animal ancestor and the contemporaneous animals are in some cases treated as blood kin or partners: Thus among the Penobscot of Maine all the families have animal names and the totemic animal is referred to as "my partner of a strange race."2

Among the African Venda there is a baboon totem whose members claim baboons as their ancestors. The legend is that in one of the Swazi invasions the stealthy movement of troops on a village was betrayed by the loud barking of a baboon. This is an ancestor-worshiping tribe and the native theory in this case is that baboons were their progenitors (hence their interest in this incident) and that one of them gave birth to a human being from which the present sib members are descended.3

1Boas, F.n/an/an/an/an/a, "The Social Organization and Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians," : 323.

2 Speck, F. G., "The Family Hunting Band as the Basis of Algonkian Social Organization," Amer. Anth., N.S., 17: 301.

3 Stayt, H. A., The Bavenda, 190.

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Chicago: U. S. Natl. Mus., Rep. For 1895 in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed July 17, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=19IDNWRGDEAB5VE.

MLA: . U. S. Natl. Mus., Rep. For 1895, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 17 Jul. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=19IDNWRGDEAB5VE.

Harvard: , U. S. Natl. Mus., Rep. For 1895. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 17 July 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=19IDNWRGDEAB5VE.