Maryland State Archives: Documents for the Classroom
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Understanding Indians: The Problem of Evidence
The faces of all their Priests are painted as ugly as they can devise, in their hands they had every one his Rattle, some base, some smaller. Their devotion was most in songs, which the chiefe Priest beginneth and the rest followed him: sometimes he maketh invocations with broken sentences, by starts and strange passions; and at every pause, the rest give a short groane.
Not long after, they tooke me to one of their great Counsells, where many of the generalitie were gathered in greater number than ever I had seen before. And they being assembled about a great field of open grasse, a score of their greatest men ran out upon the field, adorned each in brightly hued jackets and breeches, with letters cunnmgly woven upon their Chestes, and wearinge hats uppon their heads, of a son I know not what. One of their chiefs stood in the midst and would at his pleasure hurl a white ball at another chief, whose attire was of a different colour, and whether by chance or artyfice I know not the ball flew exceeding close to the man yet never injured him, but sometimes he would strike att it with a wooden club, and so giveing it a hard blow would throw down his club and run away. Such actions proceeded in like manner at length too tedious to mention, but the generalitie waxed wroth, with greate groaning and shoutinge, and seemed withall much pleased.
"After these two had perform'd their Cures at no easier Rate than the Expence of both their Noses, coming again amongst their old Acquaintance so disfigur'd, the Indians admir'd to see them metamorphos'd after that manner; enquir'd of them where they had been all that Time, and what were become of their Noses? They made Answer, That they had been conversing with the white Man above, (meaning God Almighty) how they were very kindly entertain'd by that Great Being; he being much pleas'd with their Ways, and had promis'd to make their Capacities equal with the white People in making Guns, Ammunition, &c. in Retalliation of which, they had given him their Noses. The Verity of which, they yet hold, the Indians being an easy credulous People. . .
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Schematic plan of village-burial spatial relationships in the piedmont of South Carolina, near the North Carolina border.
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The Documents for the Classroom series of the Maryland State Archives was designed and developed by Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse and Dr. M. Mercer Neale and was prepared with the assistance of R. J. Rockefeller, Lynne MacAdam and other members of the Archives staff. MSA SC 2221-17. Publication no. 4198. ©1993 Maryland State Archives.
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