Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/515

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LANGUAGES OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS

Indians, as a class, not being in any way related in speech to the Uto-Aztekan family. It accordingly follows that the popular identification of Cliff Dwellers and Aztecs is based only on ignorance or imagination, and that the weight of historical evidence is adverse to this view.

The historic development of the great Uto-Aztekan family has been determined still farther. One branch comprises a number of tribes in California. Until recently all these tribes were believed to have been the result of a single immigration into the state. It is now clear that they represent three distinct strata. One mass of them has been resident in southern California for a very long time, long enough for the originally uniform language to divide into several dialects. Another body came at a different time, or by a different route, into the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California. Whether this movement was earlier or later than the first mentioned we can not yet tell, but it is certain that it was distinct. The third stratum is represented by a recent movement from Nevada westward into the eastern parts of California; but even this was entirely prehistoric.

The Algonkin Family on the Atlantic

Another of the great linguistic families of North America is the Algonkin, one of the first to be known. To this large stock belonged Powhatan, Pocahontas and the other Indians among whom the English settlers of Virginia formed their colonies. Other Indians of the same family formed their treaty with William Penn, sold Manhattan Island to the Dutch, met the Pilgrims from the Mayflower, and learned to read Eliot's bible. Most of eastern Canada, the Ohio Valley, the Great Lake region and the country north to Hudson Bay, were also occupied by Algonkin tribes. Separated from all these, and far to the west of the Mississippi in the great plains at the base of the Rockies, lived three groups of Algonkins that at one time or another had evidently made their way there from the original eastern home. These were the Blackfeet, Arapaho and Cheyenne.

In historic times the Cheyenne and Arapaho have usually been allies and closely associated. They are to-day on the same reservation. But all the inferences made as to a joint migration of the two tribes from their original eastern home have proved mistaken. The Cheyenne language is closely similar to the dialect of the Ojibway and other tribes of the Great Lake region. The Arapaho is more different—so much so, in fact, that when vocabularies of it were first recorded, its essentially Algonkin character was not recognized. It follows that the Arapaho represent an ancient and the Cheyenne a recent separation from the tribes farther east. The third group in the plains, the Blackfeet, have specialized their dialect to about the same extent as the Arapaho, but in different ways. While they, therefore.