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the little one, which is given with some trivial ceremony, and the mother then returns with it to her home.
Nothing is known of their religion. At one time they profess to worship the sun and moon; at another they say the Indian and white man have the same God ; then you find them making pilgrimages to the sepulchre of some departed chieftain, celebrated for deeds of valor or civic honors.
As to their government, they are divided into bands, each having its own head. There is one principal hereditary chief presiding over the whole. Each of the former, with the advice of
ides upon all affairs relating directly to the band to which he belongs. Any important business affecting the whole, is acted upon by a council of chiefs--the principal chieftain governing their deliberations. Each chief punishes delinquents by beating them across the back with a stick. Criminals brought before the general council for examination, if convicted, are placed in the hands of a regularly appointed executioner of the tribe, who inflicts such punishment as the council may direct.
An execution took place among the Cuchanos whilst we were in their neighborhood, which created great sorrow among us all. An Indian boy named “Bill” was in the habit of going up and down the river on board the steamboat, and frequently visited the post and our camp. Being very smart and good-natured, he became a great favorite; and speaking some little English and Spanish, could act as interpreter. He was secretly accused and tried before the council for “ being under the influence of evil spirits"—the evidence going to show, that for the sake of frightening a little child he had forewarned it of its death on the following day, which, in reality, accidentally took place. He was convicted and sentenced to be executed. Whilst seated on the ground with three others of his tribe, laughing, talking, and playing cards, the executioner walked up behind him and struck him three blows upon the forehead and each temple killing him instantly.
The games are few. The principal one is called mo-upp, or in Spanish, redondo, played with twv poles fifteen feet long, and a ring some few inches in diameter. They play another with sticks, like jack-straws; also monte and other games of cards, but know no ball plays. Old and young join in the games. Different from most Indians, they seem to be good-natured, laughing and talking all the time. They are very affectionate towards each other, and it is not unusual to see them walking with their arms around each other's waists.
Music is not much cultivated among them. They sing some few monotonous songs, and the beaux captivate the hearts of their lady-loves by playing on a flute made of cane. They manufacture but few articles. The women make baskets of willow, and also of tule, which are impervious to water; also earthen ollas or pots, which are used for cooking and for cooling water; they answer the latter purpose very well-being porous, the water oozes out and evaporates on the surface. The men make headstalls and reatas for horses.
Although constantly in the water, these Indians never use canoes, but swim from shore to shore ; and in the event of moving their families some distance down stream, they place them on rafts of wood or balsas of rushes, push them out in the channel, and trust to the current, directing their movements with a pole.
Owing to the mild climate and the absence of rains, they require but little shelter, and their houses are of the meanest construction. Sometimes they make them of upright poles a few feet in height, crossed horizontally by others on the top, upon which rest brush and dirt. The
side to the prevailing wind is sloped towards the ground. They usually select a sandy spot, as it is warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Major Heintzelman, in speaking of their agriculture, says “it is simple; with an old axe, . (if they are so fortunate as to possess one,) knives, and fire, a spot likely to overflow is cleared; after the waters subside, (those of the annual rise,) small holes are dug at proper intervals, a few inches deep, with a sharpened stick, having first removed the surface for an inch or two, as it is apt to cake; the ground is tasted ; if salt, rejected, and if not, the seeds are planted. No further care is required but to remove the weeds, which grow most luxuriantly wherever the water has been. They cultivate watermelons, muskmelons, pumpkins, corn, and beans. The watermelons are small and indifferent, muskmelons large, and pumpkins good; these latter they cut and dry for winter use. Wheat is planted in the same manner, near the lagoons, in December or January, and ripens in May or June. It has a fine plump grain and well-filled heads. They also grow grass-seed for food ; it is prepared by pounding the seed in wooden mortars made of mezquite, or in the ground. With water the meal is kneaded into a mass, and then dried in the sun. The mezquite bean is prepared in the same manner, and will keep to the next season. The pod-mezquite begins to ripen the latter part of June; the screw-bean a little later. Both contain a great deal of saccharine matter; the latter is so full, it furnishes, by boiling, a palatable molasses ; and from the former, by boiling and fermentation, a tolerably good drink may be made. The great dependence of the Indian for food, besides the product of his fields, is the mezquite-bean. Mules form a favorite article of food ; but horses are so highly prized, they seldom kill them, unless pressed by hunger or required by their customs.” A lithographic sketch accompanies this report, depicting the appearance and dress of the Yumas, or Cuchanos.
Apart from my own observations of the Indians of the Colorado, I am very much indebted for my acquaintance with their habits and customs to the very interesting report of Major Heintzelman, from which I have taken the liberty to make some extracts, and also to frequent conversations with Major George H. Thomas, Dr. Robert J. Abbott, and other officers of the army stationed at Fort Yuma during our sojourn in its neighborhood. It may be pardonable in me to render here, by a passing word, an acknowledgment of the great kindness and consideration shown myself and assistants by all those officers whom we had the good fortune to meet after reaching the shores of the Pacific. Our wants were always kindly supplied, and all they could do was done, to expedite the work. .
On examination, after arriving at Fort Yuma, it was found that the instruments were disarranged, and in some instances broken, in consequence of the numerous changes in the mode of transportation, and the rough road travelled over; they were, however, soon repaired, as well as circumstances would permit, and the work commenced very shortly after reaching the field of our operations.
Surveys of the meanderings of the rivers Gila and Colorado for short distances above their junction, and of the latter river from the junction down to the head of ship navigation, together with the roads in the neighborhood, were made by assistant surveyor A. C. V. Schott, assisted by Messrs. E. A. Phillips, C. Michler, and T. Cozzens. Owing to the thick underbrush along the banks, the work proved tedious.
Astronomical and meteorological observations were daily made by myself, assisted by Mr. G. Power, and the computations made by Mr. J. O'Donoghue. At the same time I carried on the triangulation - to a point on the Colorado river twenty English miles below its junction with the
Gila." In consequence of the thick growth of timber along the river, this was effected on the · sand plain until near the terminal point. The timber on the bottom-land there is nearly two miles in width, and lines of sight for the theodolite had to be cut through it to approach the river. This obstruction delayed the work some time, and numerous dust-storms also impeded its progress, preventing the possibility of using any instrument for several days at a time.
On the 14th February, 1855, we moved the main camp from opposite Fort Yuma, in order to be more in the vicinity of our work; a beautiful mezquite grove near a laguna of fresh water was selected. This spot was close to the edge of the sand plain, and the nearest desirable one to the terminal point of the triangulation, about two miles distant in a direct line. It is the site of Fitzgerald's battle-ground, twenty-two miles, by the road, below Fort Yuma. We were here joined by our escort, company I, 1st artillery, officered by First Lieutenant (now captain) Francis E. Patterson, and Second Lieutenant Henry W. Closson.
By the 4th of March the triangulation and survey were all completed, an observatory erected near the initial point of the new azimuth line, (running eastward to the intersection of the 111th meridian west of Greenwich, with the parallel 31° 20' north latitude,) and astronomical observations with the transit and zenith instrument commenced. Our lucky stars did not, however, prove to be in the ascendency; first, clouds obscured them, and then the rising waters of the Colorado did not leave us long undisturbed. There came a freshet from the Gila, far up in the mountains, causing the Colorado to rise very slowly-so slowly that we anticipated no danger. The sloughs began to fill up between the observatory and the camp; the men bridged them, and still we hoped to see the water recede before forcing us to move. Day after day it continued to advance upon us until the night of the 19th, when the instruments were packed and moved to a higher point, five hundred yards distant. By this time the water had entered the observatory, and to reach it we were compelled to wade waist-deep for nearly the whole of that distance. An extract from my notes of the 20th says: “Compelled again to move the instruments and carry them up to camp ; every slough is filled, all rapidly rising, and several swimming deep; rafts built to transport the men over them; all the men in water up to their breasts, and instruments only kept dry by being carried on their heads. About noon all safely in camp ; water within fifty feet of it, and everybody getting ready to leave. At sunset the river still continues rising, and gradually approaches camp, but so slowly that we are still in doubt. At 2 o'clock a. m.; decided to take to the sand-hills; the long roll was beaten, the camp struck, the train loaded, and all moved on the high plain. Behind us lay a desert of sand forty miles across, and in front was spread a sheet of water several miles in breadth. From fifteen hundred feet the Colorado had widened to at least five miles."
After being forced from our position, the river commenced falling back into its old channel. The bottom-land had become so boggy, it was many days before we were able to reach our observatory. In the mean time, that portion of the Mexican commission appointed to co-operate with me arrived. The party was composed of Don Francisco Jimenez, 1st engineer, in charge, assisted by Señores Manual Alemán and Augustine Diaz, 2d engineers. Captain Hilarion Garcia and Lieutenant Romero were the officers of the escort.
Having already made much progress in the work, Mr. Jiménez consented to adopt the initial point fixed by me. He also accepted its longitude as determined by my triangulation. Having succeeded at length in reaching the river, we were both enabled to commence observing for latitude on the night of the 1st of April. After ten nights of successive observations a mean of the results of each party was taken as the final determination. The latitude of this initial
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