DISCUSSION AND CORRESPONDENCE
THE REINDEER ONCE MORE
THERE is as yet no exhaustive or real history of any animal domesti- cation or plant cultivation, and such a task will still be impossible for a long time to come. Naturalists, biologists, geographers, historians, ethnographers, and orientalists, have made numerous contributions to these subjects, every one from the particular angle of his field; and, as is well known, their results are widely divergent and cannot yet be har- monized. Whoever has had occasion to work on these problems feels only too well that he is merely able to make a contribution to a problem, and makes no pretense of solving* the problem in its entire complexity. Dr. G. Hatt has recently published an article on Reindeer Nomadism (Memoirs, American Anthropological Association, vol. VI; no. 2), which is partially devoted to a criticism of my former contribution to these Memoirs on the same subject. Dr. Hatt's paper doubtless contains many interesting references and notes, especially as far as his own field, the Lapp, is concerned; but I find it necessary to point out a number of misunderstandings and to discuss briefly some of his conclusions which are unacceptable to me.
Dr. Hatt claims that my disregard of the biology of the reindeer "seriously impairs the value of my theories about the origin of reindeer- domestication." This criticism is hardly fair, for I have not given any theories in regard to such origins, nor do I believe that in general origins can be explained satisfactorily. I hold that facts mean everything and that theories are of no account, and have plainly enough indicated (p. 129 of my article) that we are ignorant of how the initial domestica- tion of the reindeer was brought into effect. I have then arrayed a number of available data which might give us a clew as to how this process came about, leaving it to whoever so desired to reconstruct this process according to his own liking. I did not attempt "to trace the evolutionary history of reindeer nomadism," as Dr. Hatt wishes me to do; for like Boas, Lowie, and others, I have always opposed the evolutionary method in its application to anthropological problems (cf. this journal, 1917, p. 299, with reference to Dr. Hatt's theory of the evolution of moccasins).
The essential points discussed by Hatt are all contained in my notice