Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/111

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105
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

Acting on this belief he will sacrifice at the grave of a warrior all the property of which he died possessed, together with all in possession of his various relatives. The decease of a warrior therefore becomes a bona fide cause for mourning; for each of his immediate relations is stripped of any goods they may own, in order that his spirit may assume a proper place and distinction among his predecessors in the other world. This solemnity of course impoverishes all his relations, and its exaction creates sincere grief. How completely is this custom at variance with ours. How clearly does it exhibit the difference between savage and enlightened views on a point of no common importance. This custom, so strictly enforced among the Maricopas, does not exist among the Pimos; but in the case of an intermarriage between the two tribes the deceased is invariably sepultured in rigid accordance with the views of his or her tribe. Self-interest is, after all, as strong a motive among Indians as among whites, and for this reason intermarriages between the two tribes are so rare, even after one hundred years of undivided co-existence on the same lands, and prosecution of the same general objects.

A more marked dissimilarity is observable in their superstitions regarding warfare. The American officer can take a body of Pimos and follow up the trail of a hostile force until he has run his game to earth, when a fight takes place, in which he can depend upon the pluck and courage of his followers; but should the contest result in the death of a single enemy, or in that of a Pimo, he must bid adieu to any further effort for the time being, for the Pimos will immediately about face and return to their villages, to undergo the process of purification from blood. No threats, no inducements can make them alter or modify this course. It is a part of their religion, and