Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/850

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The Pleiades are called by the Shuswaps "the bunch," and also "people roasting." The latter name is given from a story of their origin, which relates that a number of women who were baking roots in a hole in the ground were changed into this group of stars. The morning star has the names "coming with the daylight" and "one with hair standing out round his head." The four stars forming the bowl of the Great Dipper are known as the bear stars, and the three following large stars are three brothers in pursuit of the bear. The first hunter is brave and near the bear; the second leads a dog (the small companion star); and the third is afraid and hangs far back. The stars of Orion's belt are called "fishing," and the Milky Way is the road or path of the dead. The months, beginning about March, are "spring," "grass month," "root-digging month," "strawberry month," "berry month," "salmon month," "month when the salmon get bad," "month when the deer travel," "month in which they return from hunting," "midwinter month," and Pit-tshik-in-tin" (which is not translated).

Several native roots fetill constitute notable items in the food of the Shuswaps, though their importance has diminished since the white man's preparations were introduced". Roots are always dug and cooked or cured by the women. In digging the roots a pointed stick, about four feet in length, with a crutch-shaped handle, is used. The lily, Lilium columbianum, is much sought after, and, like most of the roots, is cooked by baking in the ground. The roots of balsamorhiza, cinquef oil, claytonia or spring beauty, dog-tooth violet, and of other less familiar plants, are also eaten. The camass is abundant, and forms an important article of diet. No edible thing is ignored, and few edible substances of any kind are passed by; but the Indians never heard of any one eating a mushroom. The cambium layer of the black or bull pine (Pinus murrayana) is eaten when it is soft and gelatinous, at the time the leaves are still growing, and is sometimes dried and kept. The cambium of the subalpine spruce and of cottonwood is also sometimes eaten. The sappy and still nearly white parts of the large leaf-stalks and stems of the Heraclum lanatum are eaten in the spring, and, when taken at the right stage, are not much inferior to celery. The nutlets in the cones of Pinus albicantes are gathered in large quantities and eaten from the cones after having been roasted, or thrashed out and prepared. They have a rather pleasant taste, flavored with turpentine, and are nearly the size of small garden peas. Nutlets of yellow pine and Douglas fir are also collected—generally by robbing the mice and squirrels of their stores. The pith or inner bark of Epilobium spicatum is eaten while still young and sappy. A black, hairlike lichen, Alectoria jubata, is eaten roasted, and is