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About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (July 19, 1889)
NOTES ON TOTEMISM.
er custom or uncivilized
Tribes the World Over.
StgaiQcance and Uses r the Totem How
Affected the Tribal XCelatlaa. Cob-
erriiiug Slarrlago Conjectures as
to Its Keligious Origin.
What is a Totem? Broadly, the
badge of a clan or tribe, but some
thing signifying a great deal more
than mere political or social alliance.
It is not only a tribal emblem, but
also u family signal; not merely a
symbol of nationality, but also an ex
pression of religion; not simply a
.bond of union among primitivo peo
ples, but also a regulator of tho mar
riage laws and of other social institu
tions. As defined by Air. J. G.
Frazer, a totem is a "class of mate
rial objects which a eavago regards
with superstitious respect, believing
that there exits between him and
every member of the class an intimate
and altogether special relation."
The use of totems seems to hare
been first noticed among tho North
American Indians, and the word itself
is an Indian one. It is taken from tho
language of tho Ojibways or Chippe
ways, a branch of the Algonquin race,
who inhabited tho region Dear Lake
Superior. It is said to have wsen in
troduced Into our literature by one
Long, an Indian interpreter, who pub
lished a book of travels in 1791. Among
the American Indians its meaning is
clear enough; for with them the totems
are well defined, although often curi
ous in character. Thus, in tho Ojib
way tribe thero are no fewer than
twenty-three different totems, or clan
divisions. Nine of these are quadra
peds, marking out the wolf, the bear,
the beaver and other clans; eight are
birds, five are fishes and one is the
snake. In other words, the members
pf the tribe who carry these devices
by so doing mark themselves as be
longing to a distinct division of it, to
lie for all time and for certain practi
cal purposes distinguished and sepa
rate from the other divisions.
Next to the North American Indians,
the aboriginal tribes of Australia pre
sent the most developed form of totem
ism of any peoples of our time. Among
the Australians is to be found the same
sa of totems as among the Indians,
and chiefly taken from the animal
kingdom. There are kangaroo, opos
sum, Iguana, emu, bandicoot and Uaek
nake divisions among the Kamilaroi
tribes. There are also eagle, crew,
water, mountain, swamp, river, hot
wind and sun totems; and the first
question asked by an Australian black
of a stranger is: "Of whatmurdoo
(family or clan) are you?" In fact,
in Australia the totem seems more of
a family than a clan name.
So in Africa, among the Hottentots
and Bechuanas, are found crocodile
men, monkey-men, buffalo-men and
such family names as Ilorse, Lion,
Sheep, Ass, etc. The head of the fam
ily is the "great man' of the animal
whose name he bears, and tho mem
bers of the tribe will not eat the flesh
or uio the shin cf its protecting anl
mah The geographical distribution of to
teinlsm is very wide, too wide for us
to follow within the limits of this
article. In North America it pre
vails among all the Indian tribes, but
not among the Eskimos. In Central
America it is found among the tribes
of Panama; and in South America it is
found in Colombia, Venezuela, Guiana
and Patagonia; and traces also have
been supposed among the aborigines
(net the Incas) of Peru, In Australia
it is universal wo speak, of course,
always of aboriginal peoples and in
Africa it appears to bo general in tho
sooth and west, apd on tho equator.
It is found alike in Bengal and in Si
beria, and in Polynesia and China.
The Chinese system merits a word;
and.it is noteworthy that, on tho au
thority of a Russian traveler quoted
by Mr. McLennan, "a characteristic
feature in Central Asiatic traditions is
the derivation of their origin from
some animaL" Thus, the Telo people
are said to have sprung from the mar
riage of a wolf and a beautiful Hun
princess; the Tugas believe themselves
tabe descended from a she-wolf; the
Tibetans from a dog; the Mongol
kians from a blue vrdLf and a white
hind, etc. The Chineso expression for
their own people is Pih-Hijig, which
zneaita "the hundred family names."
Ji'tdci it is computed that thcro are
about four hundred family names in
Chics, and intermarriage is forbidden
between persons of tntT samo family
nanu. In this connection it may bo
noted that seme of the Australian
tribes have a legend to tho effect that
tfla use of totems was introduced by
command of tho Great Spirit to put a
step to consanguineous marriages.
Some curious items- ref erring to fo
temlsm ara to be found in Dr. Turner's
book about Samoa. Thusv it Is said
that if a Turtle-man eat of a turtle ho
gfem very ill, and the voice of he turtle-was
heard in his inside, saying:
"Us ate me; I am killing him." If a
Efctekly Sea-urchin-man consume one
of .these shellfish, a prickly sea-urchin
gXOtr in his body and killed him. If a
llallet-man ate a mullet, he squinted.
Ha Cockle-man carried away a cockle,
it appeared on some pact of his pcr-
and if Be ate it, it grew on his
If a Banana-man used a banana
leaf for a dap,, he became bald. If a
.BkCterQy-man caught a butterfly, it
StaVtk him dead. If a Fowl-man a to a
,, delirium andileath resulted. And
-nil mina to? show that arcomr
s totem peoples. iiotaraoujj:aH,
fSststam Iia4 scmcthingrof: tftaquaH-
wqCaf otitic as welfc as flic sigmfT-
as. Mr. J!G." thzet shows; to-
i toms are of at least three kinds. There
; is, first, the Clan totem, common to a
whole clan, and passing by inheritance
from generation to generation. There
is,second,the Sex totem, common either
to all the males or to all tho females
0f a tribe, to the exclusion of the Oth
cr 6ex And there thirdf tho Jnfo.
vidual totem, belonging to a single in
dividual, and not passing to his de
scendants. Thcro are also Cross to
tems and some other kinds, which
howover, arc really only varieties of
the Clan totem, and this last is tho
most important of all.
Regarding Clan totemism, it is to bo
I noted that the relation of mutual help
and protection includes also the to
tem itself; that is to say, if a man
. takes care of his totem, he expects tho
' totem to return the compliment.
If the totem is a dangerous animal, it
must not hurt his clans-men. Tho
Scorpion-men of Senegambia declare
that tho most deadly scorpions will
run over their bodies without hurting
them. Thero is a Snake clan in
Cyprus which holds to a similar be
lief. Among the Moxos, of Peru, a
candidate for the office of medicine
man must allow himself to be bitten
by a tiger (the totem); and, if ha
survives, he proves his kinship and
fitness. Among the Crocodile clan of
the Bechuanas, if a man is bitten by
a crocodile, or even has water
splashed on him by one, he u ex-1
. . . ii . . W . '
pelled from the clan, as one esteemed
unworthy by the totem. But a totem
must do moro than not injure it
must help. Members of Serpent
clans in various parts of the world
profess to heal by their touch those
who have been bitten by serpents.
There is a Seaweed clan in Samoa
which, whon it goes out in canoe to
fight, throws sea-weed into tho water
to hinder the flight of the enemy; if
the enemy try to pick up the weed, it
sinks, but rises again as soon as soma
of the totem clan approach it Tho
kangaroo warns tho Kangaroo tribes,
and the crow warns the Crow tribes
of Australia, of approaching danger.
This is all very well when the totem
is a bird, beast, or fish; but one data
not very well see how it will work
when the totem is a stick, a stone, a
cloud, an element, or a color.
The totem bond is a much stronger
affair than what we regard as tke
bond of blood er family. All the
members f a totem clan ragart each
ether as kiasmen, or brothers
sisters, and are bound to help
other. The Claa totem
bath a religious &ae a social
because all the maa aad woman who
call themselves by the name of tho
totem believe themselves to be of one
blood, descendants of a common an
cestor, and bound to each other by
common obligations aad a commoa
Some of the social aspects of totem
ism may be briefly referred to. For
one thing, the totem bond is stronger
than the domestic bond. In every
totem tribe there must be members of
two or more totem clans, because tho
males can not marry the females of
their own totem. If, then, a blood
feud breaks out between their clans,
husband and wife will have to tako
opposite sides, and the children will bo
arrayed with one parent against the
other, according as the custom of tho
people may be to trace descent through
the mothor or tho father. Then, if
any thing happens to a man, all his
clansmen are entitled to satisfaction,
not from the aggressor alone, but
from tho entire clan to which the ag
gressor belongs. A curious illustra
tion of this has been noted among the
Goajiros of Columbia in South Ameri
ca. This tribe is divided into some
twenty or thirty clans with descent in
the female line; and it is said that
if a man happens to cut himself with
his own knife, to fall off his own horse,
or to hurt himself in any way, his
mother's clan immediately demand
blood-money from him for injuring one
of their totems!
Then, as to marriage, persons of the
same totem may not enter into conjugal
union. This rulo is what is called
exogamy. Some tribes say of those
who marry within the clan, that their
bones will dry up and they will die.
Among tho Australian tribes, death is
the regular penalty for a breach of
this rigorous rulo.
Sspcaking generally. It may be said
Uiat marriage prohibition extends
Only to a man's own totem clan. Biit
there are also Humorous cases whero
the prohibition extends further.
Thus, a Panther of tho Creek Indians
may not marry a Panther; but he is
also prohibited from marrying a
Wiltl-cat -woman. Tho Senccas wcro
divided into two groups of four totem.-
each; the Bear, Wolf, Beaver ariU
Turtle ciau5 could not intermarry;
aor could tho Deer, Snipe. Heron and
Hawk clans ;but a member of any ono of
the totems of ono group was compelled
to seel: a mate in one of tho totems of
the other group.
It is impossible to go thoroughly
into the origin and nature of totemism
withLi tho limits of an article such as
this. But enough has been said to
show that its main use among
primitivo peoples has been with refer
ence to marriage. As to whether or
not it took its origin in some religious
idea, or whether the religious aspect
has bean an aftergrowth of tho social
custom, opinipns continue to differ
widely. In brief, it may be said that
Mr. MXennan thought that totemism
vrsa necessarily connected with
animal-worship; that Mr. Herbert-
Spencer things it was a confused sort
of ancestor-worship; that Sir John
Lubbock thinks it originated in
nature-worship; and Mr. Staniland
Wake thinks that it had a good deal
todff with the oriental" belief in tho
transmigration of the soul, and was a
combination: of nature-worship and
naimat-wowaip. Chambers' Journal.
"How did you find society out is
Chicago?" " Oh, there's a good deal
of it there. But they have strange
ways." -How so?" "Well, if a
man goes to an evening party, and
keeps his coat on tho entire evening,
the company concludes right away
that his shirt is in tho wash."
"'Male Parent (sternly) "Now,
sir, young man, I have caught you
stuck in the jam, as usual, when your
mother is away." Culprit "I'll bet
a quarter ma is stuck in tho jam,
too." Male Parent "Where?" Cul.
prit "Down at the millinery open
ing." Burlington Free Press.
Stern Parent "Johnnie, I am in
formed that you use a great deal of
elang. Is it true?' "Yes, sir."
"And I havo cautioned you against
the vulgar habit scores of times. I
once more warn you that if you per
sist in using slang I'll take that strap
from tho wall and you'll find yourself
in the soup." Nebraska State Jour
nal. "What is your business, slrf
asked a Cambridge lawyer of a Wit
ness. " I am the practitioner in tho
new6cience of preserving the mem
ory." "But you are dressed as a
mechanic and not as a professional
man." "Yes; I'm a grave-stono let
terer. Sacred to the memory, etc.,
you know." Cambridgo Daily.
Realized His Loss: Miss Ann Teak
"I met your old friend Mr. Warble
last evening. We had quite a con
versation about you. You were en
gaged once, I believe." Hiss Fatand
forty "Yes." Miss Ann Teak "He
crew aulte reminiscent, as it were.
Said he never would have quarrelod
with you if he had realized how nr
he was losing." Miss Jratandfo
"Really?" Miss Ann Teak "Yea. Ha
said you only weighed about rilnet
pounds then and you must weigh at
least ono hundred and seventy-five
how." Miss Fatandforty "Ob, yon
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Good mothers uao Dr. WincheU'o
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liver pills, for sour stomach, torpid Iircrand
Curo your coughs and colds with
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Happy Home blood purifier is
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o. C. Cask, Jas. McNent.
A TTORXEIS AND CV XSELORS AT LA W
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Collection as well as lit ipated business careful
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OrncK. Over First Natlnaal Bank, hed
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A TTORNEY3 AT LAW. Agents for the B.
&'.R- (.lands. Oflceon Webster 9reet
Itetl Cloud. Nebraska.
Bit G haaatrcn nnirer.
sal satisfaction ia Hie
cure of Gonorrhoea aad
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feel sate !a recoinaaead
lor It to all snfferen.
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C. L. Costing, Agent.
A. II. B1HHVN, l'Kor.
Elm i-'t. imi lt A v.. Ret! f'foud.
D. B. Spaiiogle,
and Loan Agent
QEO. o. and b. D. YEISER,
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83-Solii iu Bed Cloud liyCL CUTTIXU sole
LEG A Ei NOTICK.
State of Nebraska s
Webster County 1
In the district co u thereof of the eighth judl
The Nebraska Loan :,ml Triist Co., 1'laintiIT.
lames Wall, Komelia Wall his wife, James C.
Stoddard. Fredeiicli Krug. . K nig, bis
wife, lirst name unknown, ami Charles II.
JfOTlCR OF SUIT.
The about named dofentmnte Krederich Krug
and . Krtig. his wife, w how; first name is
to the plaintiff unknown, are hereby notified
that the above named plaintiff has tiled inttm
above named court its petitioa against them,
and tiie defendants. Jaaies Wall, l.'omelia Wall
aad others, the obiect and prayer of which peti
tioa are to foreclose a mortgage bearing date
December 1. lx5- executed by the said defen
dants .lames Wall Komelia Wall his wife, to tho
plaintiff on the north-west U of section tiiirty
three (XI) 111 township one (I) north and range
eleven (ID west of the sixth 10 principal tneri
diaa in said Webster county, and to have said
real estate appraised, advertised and sold to
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You are further notified that you arc hereby re
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before Monday, Hie uth day of Amnist, lis?.
The Nekbaska Imas & Trust Co.
Jno. M. Jtasan, riaintiJt'9 Atty. 47-st
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E. ST. JOHN, E. A, HOLBROOK,
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The JChief, the
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