The Old North Trail, by Walter McClintock, , at sacred-texts.com
AFTER becoming acquainted with the Blackfeet Indians, I realised that there were locked up in the breasts of the old chiefs and medicine men rich treasures of folk-lore, religious beliefs and ceremonials. I saw that the younger generation was indifferent to their tribal customs, traditions and religion. I also observed that they had no written language, and it seemed inevitable that, with the passing of the old chiefs and medicine men, their ancient religion and folk-lore would fall into oblivion. When I discovered that I could obtain the unbosoming of their secrets and that the door was open to me for study and investigation, I resolved that I would do my best to preserve all the knowledge available.
Having kept accurate records of my experiences and investigations, I have been encouraged to believe that information has been secured worthy of publication. This book has accordingly been published with the hope that its narrative of experiences among the Blackfeet would interest the general reader, and its records of investigation would be of some value to the science of ethnology. The narrative form has been chosen in the belief that this method would furnish a more faithful portraiture of the environment, family life and personal character of this tribe of Indians, and would enable the reader to form a better conception of their religion,
tribal customs and social organisation, than if a more formal treatise on these subjects had been attempted.
I gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to Professor Doctor Karl von den Steinen, President of the Berlin Anthropological Society; Mr. George A. Macmillan of London; Doctor J. G. Frazer, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, England; and Professor William Ridgeway, President of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, for their interest and encouragement in my work:
To Mr. Francis E. Leupp, former United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs Mr. Gifford Pinchot, former Chief of the Forest Service, and the resident government agents of the Blackfeet Indians, for their cordial support, during my various visits at the reservations:
To Dr. J. A. Brashear of Pittsburg for his astronomical notes:
To Dr. Clark Wissler of the American Museum of Natural History for sending me his anthropological papers:
To Mr. O. E. Jennings, assistant curator of Botany in Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, for his identification of my collection of herbs and plants:
To Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Magee of Browning, Montana, for their assistance and friendship during many years:
And to my brother Norman McClintock for his valuable assistance in photographic matters and identification of birds.
PITTSBURG, PA., U.S.A.,