Page:Firemaking Apparatus in the U.S. National Museum.djvu/23

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FIRE-MAKING APPARATUS. 549 on ethnology, as to the general use of the bow-drill among the Indians. In mentioning that the Sioux use the bow-drill, Schoolcraft is quoted as authority. As a matter of fact the reference is to a " made-up" figure of a bow-drill set, marked "Dacota.'^ On the same plate there is a representation of an Iroquois pump-drill that is obviously wrong. Tlu^ lower part of the plate is taken up by a i)icture of an Indian woman (presumably Californian) pounding acorns in a mortar. To complete the absurdity the whole plate is entitled Methods of obtaining fire by percussion," and is placed in the text of a questionnaire on the Cali- fornian Indians, opposite a description of the Californian way of mak- ing fire by twirling two sticks.* Mr. Schoolcraft is not to blame for this state of affairs; in those days illustrations were not ethnological, they were " padding" gotten uj) by the artist. Nowhere in his great work does Mr. Schoolcraft describe either the Dacota or Iroquois drill. Among the northern Indians in central and northern Canada, however, the bow is used. Sir Daniel Wilson, in his work on Prehistoric Man, notes that the Red Indians of Canada use the drill bow. In August, 1888, at the meet- ing of the American asso(;iation, at Toronto, he gave an account of the facility with which those Indians make fire. He said that at Nipissing, on the north shore of Lake Superior, while he was traveling in a i)our- ing rain, and not having the means wherewith to light a fire, an Indian volunteered to light one. He searched around for a pine knot and for tinder, rubbed up the soft inner bark of the birch between the hands, got a stick from a sheltered place, made a socket in the knot and another piece of wood for a rest for the drill, tied a thong to a piece of a branch for a bow. He put the tinder in the hole and rested his breast on the drill and revolved it with the bow and quickly made fire. It is perhaps true that some of the Dacotas did use the bow at times, but it is not correct to place it as the customary tool of the whole stock. On the contrary, there is evidence that they used the simple means. Dr. J. Owen Dorsey writes: I was told in 1879 by tbe late Joseph La Fl^.che, that the Otnahas, prior to the ad- vent of the white men, made fire by using pieces of the *' du-ii-du-ii-bi," a grass (?) that grows in the Sand Hill region of Nebraska, near the sources of the Elkborn River. One piece was phiced borizontally on the ground, and a slight notcb was cut at one end, wherein a few grains of sand were put. The otber stick was beld be- tween the palms of the hands, with one end in the notch of the horizontal slick, and then rolled first in one direction then in the other till fire was produced. A fresh notch was made in the first stick whenever the old one became useless, and so on un- til it became necessary to i)rocure a new stick. In the Green Corn Dance of the Minitaries, another Siouan tribe, the " corn is boiled on the fire, which is then put out by removing it with the ashes and burying them". New fire is made by desperate and pain- ful exertion, by three men seated on the ground facing each other and violently drilling the end of a stick into a hard block of wood by roll- Schoolcraft.— Indian Tribes. IS-^.l-fiO. iii, PI. 28.