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Nature volume 42, pages 124125 | Download Citation



THE Pawnees were at one time what Mr. Grinnell calls “a great people.” They roamed over a vast territory, and enjoyed considerable material prosperity. Now, their numbers are greatly reduced, and the few who remain give a very inadequate idea of the vigour of the original stock. The author of the present book knew the tribe intimately twenty years ago. He used to camp and hunt with them in Nebraska, and at night they told him hero-stories and folk-tales which had been handed on to them from their forefathers. Many of these narratives he carefully translated and wrote down at the time; and quite lately he visited his old friends for the express purpose of inducing them to extend his collection. They were eager to meet his wishes, and so he was able to bring together the stories which he has now published. He claims that they are recorded exactly as he himself heard them, and that they may therefore be regarded as faithfully reflecting the Pawnee character. As genuine documents, throwing light on the ideas and habits of a primitive people, the stories are of some scientific value; and students of anthropology will find in them a good deal that is interesting and suggestive. Mr. Grinnell adds various notes, in which he gives much well-arranged information as to the history, racial affinities, and institutions of the Pawnees.

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