Page:Firemaking Apparatus in the U.S. National Museum.djvu/17

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FIRE-MAKING APPARATUS.

and also use a flint and steel. For tinder they use dry grass or bark fiber. They use also a fungus, polyporus sp., for the same purpose. Another reference to the fire making of this stock (Yuman) is found in the translation by the late Dr. Charles Rau of the writings of Father Baegert on the Californian Peninsula.* He says: To light a fire, the Californian makes no use of steel and flint, but obtains it by the friction of two pieces of wood. One of them is cylindrical and pointed at one end, which fits into a round cavity in the other, and by turning the cylin- drical piece with great rapidity between their hands, like a twirliug-stick, they succeed in igniting the lower piece if they continue the process for a sufificient length of time. The Navajo fire-set looks very much like a mere makeshift. The hearth is a piece of yucca stalk and the fire-holes have but a shallow side notch. The drill is a broken arrow shaft, to which has been rudely lashed with a cotton rag a smaller piece of yucca wood (fig. 15). This carelessness, which it is rather than lack of skill, is characteristic of the Na- vajos in their minor implements. They resemble the crude Apache in this. One thinks of the Nava- jos only with regard to their fine blanket weaving and silver working, so well presented by Dr. Wash- ington Matthews in the reports of the Bureau of Ethnology, and does not consider their arts in other lines.! Mr. Thomas C. Battey, a Friend, long missionary among the Indians, kindly gives a description of the Kiowan fire-making process, not now practiced among them, but shown to him as a relic of an abandoned art : A piece of very hard and coarse, rough-grained wood, per- haps 8 inches in length, 2 in width, and three-fourths of an inch in thickness is procured. In one side of this and near one edge several holes are made, about one-half an inch in diameter by five-eighths of an inch in depth, rounded at the bottom, but left somewhat rough or very slightly corrug'ated. In the edge nearest thes^e holes a corresponding number of smaller and tapering holes are made, opening by a small ori- fice into the bottom of each of the larger ones. These are made vei'j' smooth. A straight stick, also of hard, rough-grained wood, about 8 or 10 inches in length, about the size they usually make their •Smithsonian Report. 1865. p. 367. tDr. Matthews's mountain chaflt of the Navajos, in the fifth annual report (1883-'84) of the bureau of EJthnolqgy, gives some very striking ceremonial uses of fire. No ethnologist (oat. No. 9555^ as. a gl!onW f^ to refi(l, thjH Iniportjint contrilHition () srifliioe, (ir^'fiKpSsr') (/ Fig. 15, FlRB-MAKIl»'G Skt,