Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/343

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Reviews. ^^'^

adjunct of their toilet; I will not say a luxury. It was their custom to paint themselves and all their belongings with red ochre : whence their name of Red Indians. Possibly all that was meant by Mr. Cormack's informant is that they never washed ceremonially, except on this occasion.

The predilection for red paint is found among savage peoples all over the world. But itw have carried it to the length of the Beothuck. Recent discoveries in the Penobscot Valley and else- where in the State of ]\Iaine have disclosed the former existence of a people addicted to the use of red paint, and so primitive as to have been, like the Beothuck, unacquainted with pottery. Professor Moorehead, the discoverer, has cautiously hinted that this ancient people may perhaps be allied to the Beothuck, while admitting that research has not proceeded far enough to warrant the comparison. His article has provoked a lively controversy in the pages of the American Anthropologist. The painting of the bodies and bones of the dead with red ochre or hjematite, and the deposit of these substances in the grave were practised in prehistoric times in Europe, and have been reported all over the world. Whether the "Red Paint People" of Maine were in any way connected with the Beothuck must therefore be determined rather by a general comparison of their culture, as gathered from the other contents of their tombs, than by the deposit of paint.

The question is of some importance, because hitherto all efforts to connect the Beothuck with any other specific branch of the North American race have failed. There is very little evidence to guide the enquiry. Their light complexion, their abundant use of red paint, their lodges, their canoes (which were of a peculiar shape), their custom of cutting off the head of a fallen foe, all distinguish the tribe from adjacent peoples. Perhaps also their frequent, but not exclusive, use of caves for burial may point in the same direction. On the other hand, their fondness for gambling is a common savage characteristic, practically universal in North America. There only remain the vocabularies. These have been carefully analysed by Professor Gatschet, but without any definite result. All sorts of guesses, wise and otherwise, at the ethnic relations of this mysterious people have been made by