Page:Journal of American Folklore vol. 12.djvu/435

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Iroquois Women. 91

burial among the Hurons, in 1656, "the mother or the wife will be at the foot of the tomb, calling the deceased in singing, or rather com- plaining in a lugubrious tone." This kind of mourning lasted a year with them. Condoleuces were made for distinguished women as well as men.

Father Poncet has left us one pretty episode of his captivity among the Mohawks in 1653. Some Mohawk women had paid his captor several thousand beads, and one wished to adopt him in place of her dead brother. " So soon as I entered her cabin, she began to sing the song of the dead, in which she was joined by her two daugh- ters. I was standing near the fire during these mournful dirges ; they made me sit upon a sort of table slightly raised, and then I understood I was in the place of the dead, for whom these women renewed the last mourning, to bring the deceased to life again in my person, according to their custom."

Clan names are the rule among nations of Iroquois stock, and in some. the women have the sole right of bestowing these. In adop- tion they often have a prominent part, and this was a characteristic feature in early days.

One curious thing appears in a change of language, as when an uneducated Iroquois attempts to speak the English tongue. In most cases he will speak of a man as she, and a woman as he. There seems no reason for this beyond that of custom, but a custom it is. I have before spoken ot a teacher's experience with the fifth com- mandment, where the children persistently said "thy mother and thy father." Female influence is the controlling newer. "A widower with children has no title to them among those who observe the old ways, if his wife's mother is living. They belong to her.

Girls marry young. In 1866 a missionary's wife among the Green Boy Oneidas spoke in her diai v of G .rrent.Ua. ' Falling B< k." " She is considered an old maid ; people say, ' Oh, Garreniha will never marry now ; she is too old V She is in fact nineteen, but the Oneida girls are married so early, at fourteen or fifteen, that nine- teen is considered an advanced age." It often happens, however, among the Onondagas, that young men marry elderly women, with ' the idea that their experience may be valuable to those who have litfe, and the rule works both ways. This early wisdom is less shown new than in times of old, nor-do-the older people now. have so . much to do with match-making.

W. M. Beauckamp.

Note. — On the general subject, see also Lucier. Cavr, "The Social and Politi- cal Position oF WoaieiVahiong die H urcn-Iroquoss Tribes;" rrr die* Sixtetnth — R-'.pori of ike Peabody Museum cf American Archeology and Ethnology. Cam- bridge, Mass., 18S3. Pp. 207-232.

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