John Muir


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Buy blanket redemption. Blood in particular must be redeemed in blankets. They are the unit of wealth and unit of atonement. A man’s wealth is measured in blankets. “He is rich, he has 500 blankets.” The raising of a carved heraldic monument is a grand occasion. Some of the monuments cost as high as 300 blankets plus the cost of a grand entertainment and potlatch when all are fed and all receive presents. Occasionally a rich Indian holds a grand potlatch, giving away all the hard-earned savings of a lifetime. Then he becomes a Chief or Tyee, Another witch case was described to me by Mr. Young, the missionary. The wife of one of the Stickine Chiefs was sick and supposed to be bewitched. An Indian neighbor known to be jealous of the power of the family was suspected of being the cause of the obscure difficulty, and was therefore caught and bound and carried to the house where the sick woman lay, and secured under the floor in a painful posture and ordered to confess and repent. Mr. Young, hearing of the difficulty, went to the house and demanded the prisoner who was reluctantly given up but admonished that unless he should confess he would yet be caught and punished. At length, fearing for his life, he went to an island where a medicine man lay dead, and took out a dead eagle from between the ribs and threw it away. The dead eagle was intended to affect the woman in the portion of the body where it was placed. This was satisfactory, notwithstanding the woman died shortly afterwards. {sketch}

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 8.5 x 13.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist