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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter IV. — Indian Theory of the Action of the Mind During Sleep.

DREAMS exert a more marked influence on the religious opinions and acts of the Indians than any other operating cause. Two terms are used to express the word "dream" in the Algonquin language. Inâbundum refers to that panorama of sensations presented to the mental vision during sleep. The apowa, as contradistinguished from this, is a vision, or sacred dream.

Dreams being generally regarded as revelations, are sought to be procured by abstinence and fasts. Among every class they are anxiously courted, and are explained by the medas and jossakeeds, wise men, who constitute, in Indian society, the learned class. Youth and age alike pay respectful deference to these nocturnal warnings; and, when the male youth attain the age of puberty, revelations of this kind are sought with much solicitude, and their advent promoted by rigorous fasts. As at this time a guardian spirit must be chosen for life, these fasts are continued for several days; no nourishment at all being taken, with the exception of water; and, as the fast constitutes a period of ceremonial and religious trial, the parents of the youth do everything in their power to encourage him to perseverance. Under the operation of these causes, some object in animate nature is usually presented to the imagination in an inviting manner. This animal is adopted as the guardian or personal maneto of the individual during life. This spirit is not, however, the Indian's totem, or symbol of the family tie, or clanship (which is also generally the figure of some bird or animal), but exclusively a personal maneto.

The jebi is a ghost or apparition, and the mind is called inaindum. Otchichaug is the soul, or semblance of the human frame or organization, after its dissolution. The three terms are, therefore, not convertible, or synonymous. But the action of the soul is inseparable from the operation of dreams. It is an opinion of the Indians — I know not how universal — that there are duplicate souls, one of which remains with the body, while the other is free to depart on excursions during sleep. After the death of the body, the
soul departs for the Indian elysium, or the Land of the Dead; at which time a fire is lighted, by the Chippewas, on the newly-made grave, and re-kindled

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nightly, for four days — the period allowed for the person to reach the Indian elysium. This practice, which is common, it is believed, to all the Algonquins, is of a very impressive character. The scene is represented in the accompanying plate. 883

Having requested a Chippewa Indian to explain the duality of the soul; "It is known," he replied, "that, during sleep, while the body is stationary, the soul roams over wide tracts of country, visiting scenes, persons, and places at will. Should there not be a soul, at the same time, to abide with the body, it would be as dead as earth, and could never reappear in future life." The theory of the sensations experienced by the mind during sleep, and the operation of the flitting train of active memories and fancies, has been frequently described in highly refined and imaginative language; but this ingenious mode of detailing its operation is, it is believed, the first attempt of the kind ever made by an Indian.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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