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p. 110



The Yo-sem-i-tes, as is true of nearly all Indian tribes, were of an intensely religious temperament. They seem to have had a fairly well defined idea of a Deity, known as The Great Spirit, who looked after their welfare, rewarding virtue and punishing wrong, and who lived in El-o-win, the spirit land beyond the setting sun. There was also the evil spirit lurking always to do them harm. They believed that when one of their number died if be had lived a life pleasing to The Great Spirit, he and all of his possessions were taken to El-o-win to be among his fathers. But in case the Indian had been bad and had lived in a manner displeasing to The Great Spirit, he was sent back to earth to live another life in the form of the grizzly bear. Thus we find them, even in their earliest history, subscribing to religious beliefs amounting, when our own are boiled down to principles, to practically the same thing--the rewarding of right living--and the punishment of wrong.

p. 111

Their dead were held in great reverence and at their annual mourning feast, which was held in honor of the dead, great quantities of blankets, beads, baskets of the very finest workmanship, and other goods were burned as an offering to their departed relatives and friends. It was their belief that these articles were received and made use of in El-o-win. Many of the Indians kept themselves poor by yearly contributing nearly everything they owned to these fires.

They believed, because of the hot and cold winds which swirl about them, that some of the waterfalls of the Valley were favorite abodes of the evil spirit, and that if they ventured too near they would be drawn into the falls an killed. This superstition exists among them yet. The whirlwinds were also believed to contain evil spirits.

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