Iroquoian tribes, who also later produced fine specimens of work with the glass beads introduced by the whites. These glass beads made their way over most of the continent, soon driving out in many sections the older art in shell, &c. European-made wampum-beads affected native art in the 17th century. In the regions where the porcupine abounded its quills were used for purposes of ornamentation on articles of dress, objects of bark, &c., some of the Algonkian and Iroquoian tribes producing beautiful work of this sort.
Besides face and body painting, employed for various purposes and widespread over the continent, particularly in ceremonial observances, during war-time, in courting, mourning, &c., painting found expression among the North American aborigines most fully in the products of the wood art of the Indians of the North Pacific coast (masks, utensils, houses, totem-poles, furniture, &c.), in the more or less ceremonial and symbolic paintings on skins, tipi-covers and the like of some of the Plains tribes (e.g. Kiowa, Sioux) and in ceramic art, notably in the remarkable polychrome pottery of the Pueblos tribes. Among several Pueblos tribes of Arizona and New Mexico (also the Navaho and Apache and of a ruder sort among some of the Plains tribes, e.g. Cheyenne, Arapaho, Blackfeet) “dry-painting,” most highly developed in the sacred ceremonies of the Navaho, is practised and is evidently of great antiquity. The pictures of deities, natural phenomena, animals and plants are made of powdered sandstone of various colours, &c.
Pictography among the aborigines north of Mexico varied from the rude petroglyphs of some of the Shoshonian tribes to the incised work on ivory, &c., of the Eskimo and the paintings on buffalo and other animal skins by some of the Plains tribes, the work of the Pueblos Indians, &c., the nearest approach to hieroglyphics in North America outside of Mexico. Some Indian tribes (e.g. the Kootenay) seem not at all given to pictography, while many others have practised it to an almost limitless extent. The pictography and picture-writing of the North American Indians have been the subject of two detailed monographs by Mallery (4th Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 1882-1883, pp. 3-256; 10th Rep., 1888-1889, pp. 1-1290), and the graphic art of the Eskimo has received special treatment by Hoffman (Rep. U.S. Nat. Mus., 1895). Some have argued that this ivory pictography of the Eskimo is of recent origin and due practically to the introduction of iron by the whites, but Boas thinks such a theory refuted by the resemblance of the Eskimo graphic art in question to the birch-bark art of the neighbouring Indian tribes. No real “hieroglyphs,” much less any system of writing of an alphabetic nature, have been discovered north of Mexico; the alleged specimens of such, turning up from time to time, are frauds of one sort or another.
The music and song of the American Indians north of Mexico have been studied since the time of Baker (Über die Musik der Nordamerikanischen Wilden, Leipzig, 1882) by Boas, Fillmore, Curtis, Fletcher, Stumpf, Cringan (Ann. Arch. Rep. Ont., 1902, 1905), &c. According to Miss Fletcher (Indian Story and Song, 1900; also Publ. Peab. Mus., 1893), “among the Indians music envelops like an atmosphere every religious tribal and social ceremony, as well as every personal experience,” and “there is not a phase of life that does not find expression in song”; music, too, is “the medium through which man holds communion with his soul and with the unseen powers which control his destiny.” Music, in fact, “is coextensive with tribal life,” and “every public ceremony as well as each important act in the career of an individual has its accompaniment of song.” Moreover, “The music of each ceremony has its peculiar rhythm, so also have, the classes of songs which pertain to individual acts: fasting and prayer, setting of traps, hunting, courtship, playing of games, facing and defying death.” In structure the Indian song “follows the outline of the form which obtains in our own music,” and “the compass of songs varies from 1 to 3 octaves.” Among some of the tribes with highly developed ceremonial observances “men and women, having clear resonant voices and good musical intonation, compose the choirs which lead the singing in ceremonies and are paid for the services.” A peculiar development of music among the Eskimo is seen in the “nith-songs,” by which controversies are settled, the parties to the dispute “singing at” each other till the public laughter, &c., proclaim one the victor. Among the American Indians songs belonging to individuals, societies, clans, &c., are met with, which have to be purchased by others from the owners, and even slight mistakes in the rendition of singing, dancing, &c., are heavily penalized. Musical contests were also known (e.g. among the Indians of the Pacific coast). The development of the “tribal song” among the Iroquoian peoples is seen in Hale's Iroquois Book of Rites (1881). Songs having no words, but merely changeless vocables, are common. As Dr Boas has pointed out, the genius of the American Indian has been devoted more to the production of songs than to the invention of musical instruments. The musical instruments known to the aborigines north of Mexico, before contact with the whites, according to Miss Fletcher (Handb. of Amer. Inds., 1907, pt. i. p. 960), were drums of great variety in size and form, from the plank or box of some of the tribes of the North Pacific coast to the shaman's drums of the Algonkian and Iroquoian peoples; whistles of bone, wood, pottery, &c. (often employed in ceremonies to imitate the voices of birds, animals and spirits); flageolet or flute (widely distributed and used by young men in courtship among the Siouan tribes); the musical bow (found among the Maidu of California and important in religion and sorcery). Rattles of gourd, skin, shell, wood, &c.,are universal, and among some of the tribes of the south-west “notched sticks are rasped together or on gourds, bones or baskets to accentuate rhythm.” From the rattle in the Pueblos region developed a sort ofball of clay or metal.
So far as is known, the primitive culture of the aborigines of North America is fundamentally indigenous, being the Culture of Indians essentially indigenous. reactions of the Indian to his environment, added to whatever rude equipment of body and of mind was possessed by the human beings who at some remote epoch reached the new world from the old, if, indeed, America was not, as Ameghino, on the basis of the discoveries of fossil anthropoids and fossil man in southern South America, maintains, the scene of origin of man himself.
Professor A. H. Keane (Internal. Monthly, vol. v., 1902, pp. 338-357), Stewart Culin (Proc. Amer. Assoc. Adv. Sci. vol. lii., 1903, pp. 495-500) and Dr Richard Andree (Slzgsb. d. anthrop. Ges. in Wien, 1906, pp. 87-98) all agree as to the general autochthony of aboriginal American culture. The day of the argument for borrowing on the ground of mere resemblances in beliefs, institutions, implements, inventions, &c., is past. An admirable instance of the results of exact scientific research in this respect is to be found in Dr Franz Boas's discussion (Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., 1908, pp. 321-344) of the needle-cases of the Alaskan Eskimo, which were at first supposed to be of foreign (Polynesian) origin. Other examples occur in Mr Culin's study of American Indian games, where, for the first time, the relation of certain of them in their origin and development, and sometimes also in their degeneration and decay, is made clear. The independent origin in America of many things which other races have again and again invented and re-invented in other parts of the world must now be conceded.
been shown to be of great importance to the ethnologists. The investigations in this part of America and among the more or less primitive peoples of north-eastern Asia, carried on by the Jesup North Pacific expedition in 1897-1902, have resulted in showing that within what may be called the “Bering Sea culture-area” transmissions of culture have taken place from north-eastern Siberia to north-western America and vice versa. The only known example, however, of the migration of any people one way or the other is the case of the Asiatic Eskimo, who are undoubtedly of American origin, and it seems probable, in the language of Dr Boas, the organizer of the Jesup expedition and the editor of its publications, that “the Chukchee, Koryak, Kamchadal and Yukaghir must be classed with the American race rather than with the Asiatic race,” and possibly also some of the other isolated Siberian tribes; also that, “in a broad classification of languages, the languages of north-eastern Siberia should be classed with the languages of America” (Proc. Intern. Congr. Amer., New York, 1902, pp. 91-102). It appears, further, that the arrival of the Eskimo on the Pacific coast (this, although not recent, is comparatively late) from their home in the interior, near or east of the Mackenzie, “interrupted at an early period the communication between the Siberian and Indian tribes, which left its trace in many cultural traits common to the peoples on both sides of the Bering Sea.”
This establisment of the essential unity of the culture-type (language, mythology, certain arts, customs, beliefs, &c.) of the “Palaeo-Asiatic” peoples of north-eastern Siberia and that of the American Indians of the North Pacific coast, as demonstrated especially by the investigations of Jochelson, Bogoras, &c., is one of the most notable results of recent organized ethnological research. No such clear proof has been afforded of the theory of Polynesian influence farther south on the Pacific coast of America, believed in, more or less, by certain ethnologists (Ratzel, Mason, &c.). This theory rests largely upon resemblances in arts (clubs, masks and the like in particular), tattooing, mythic motifs, &c. But several things here involved, if not really American in origin, are so recent that they may perhaps be accounted for by such Hawaiian and other Polynesian contact as resulted from the establishment of the whale and seal-fisheries in the 18th century.
Between the Indians of North America and those of South America few instances of contact and intercommunication, or even of transference of material products and ideas, have been substantiated. It is by way of the Antilles and the Bahamas that such contact as actually occurred took place. In 1894 (Amer. Anthrop. vol. vii. p. 71-79) Professor W. H. Holmes pointed out traces of Caribbean influences in the ceramic art of the Florida-Georgiaregion belonging to the period just before the Columbian discovery.