North America Indian Story & Song - online book

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Victory songs, of which this is one, were sung when the people with rhythmic steps celebrated ceremonially the return of victorious warriors. Be­cause of its peculiar accessory, the scalp, this cere­mony has been called by us the "scalp dance," al­though no Indian so designates it.
The contrast between the sentiment of this story, teaching respect and honour to the old, and the cere­mony, as we baldly see it, is startling. But it is with the Indian as with ourselves: the cruelties of war and the gentler emotions are often intertwined, the latter surviving and lifting up a standard for emulation, the former passing away, dying with the instigating passion. Among the many hundreds of Indian songs I have known, none commemorate acts of cruelty.
Years ago the Omaha tribe and the Sioux met while searching for a buffalo herd; and, as was usual, a battle ensued, for each tribe was determined to drive the other from the region of the game. Although the Sioux outnumbered the Omaha, the latter remained victors of the field.
An old Omaha, interested to observe how some of
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