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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/406

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of hunting and fishing, of building wigwams and the like." But it is a fundamental error, Mr. Jackman believes, to suppose that while the child may be Indianlike in his instincts he is to be considered or treated as an Indian. Another factor of which evolution makes a great deal—the nature of the environment—must be considered, and it is very powerful. The material for satisfying the cravings of the early instincts should therefore be chosen from the immediate environment, to which the pupil's reaction is at once positive and definite. "It is scarcely possible to overmagnify the benefits of an education that seeks first to make the most out of the immediate things of life. Its results and its ideals are about us everywhere. The ability to use in the most intelligent and skillful way the materials of our environment is the necessary condition for the highest purposes and the most glorified ideals. One must have a profound respect for the education that proposes to give us clean cities and hygienic homes."

 

An Athabascan Indian Lodge.—The caribou-skin lodge of the northern Athabascan Indians is described by Mr. Frank Russell, in his Explorations in the Far North, as supported by a framework of from twelve to thirty poles. In pitching camp in winter, sticks are thrust through the snow in order to find solid earth for a floor. If the stick enters soft moss the place is avoided, as the camp fire would spread and undermine the lodge. When a suitable site is found, the men clear away the snow with their snowshoes, and perhaps assist the women in cutting and carrying the lodge poles. It is the women's duty to carry bundles of spruce boughs with which to cover the floor of the lodge. The brush is carefully laid, branch by branch, so that the stems are under the tops and point away from the center. This floor is renewed every Saturday afternoon. The fireplace is surrounded by a pole of green wood, three or four inches in diameter, cut so as to be bent in the form of a polygon. Above the doorway a pole eight feet long is lashed to the lodge-poles in a horizontal position, six feet from the ground; this, and a similar pole on the opposite side, support from six to twelve poles, crossing above the fire, making a stage on which to thaw and dry meat. Each hunter's powder-horn and shot-pouch are suspended from a lodge-pole or his back, while his gun stands in its cover against a pole or lies on a stage outside. Near the door flap are several hungry and watchful dogs, which, by constantly running in and out, make an opening for the cold wind to enter. The dogs are tied at night. The side of the fire next to the entrance is allotted to the children and visiting women. On either side sit the wives, for there are usually two families in one lodge. Behind them are muskimoots and an inextricable confusion of rags, blankets, bones, meat, etc. If a crooked knife, a tea bag, or anything that is in the heap is needed, everything is tumbled about until it is found. The sled-wrapper is extended behind the lodge-poles and serves as a catch-all for stores of meat, bones to be pounded and boiled to extract the grease, and odds and ends not in constant use. The next space is occupied by the men of the house; that farthest from the door is reserved for the young men and the men guests. At night each adult rolls up in a single three-point blanket or a caribou-skin robe, and sleeps on an undressed caribou skin. A piece of an old blanket generally covers the small children in a bunch.

 

The Sand Grouse.—Pallas's sand grouse is a native of the Kirghiz steppes of central Asia, and occasionally, driven by some pressure of circumstances of which we can only conjecture the nature, makes visits to England. Its presence in that country has never been recorded till this century—more, perhaps, for lack of observers than of migrating birds—but it has appeared in 1863, 1872, 1873, 1888, 1889, and 1899. The principal migration in recent years was in 1888, when many examples were seen and shot in different parts of the country. In the same year it was seen "far and wide" in western Europe, and as far north as Trondhjem, in western Norway. A writer in the Saturday Review remarks on the resemblance of this sand grouse, as described by Prjevalski in central Asia, to the various sand grouse he has seen in South Africa. At the drinking places they circle round the water. Presently they alight and,