Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952)

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Edward S. Curtis - A Young Kutenai border=
A Young Kutenai
Volume, 12.5 x 9.5 inches
Vintage Photogravure
QUOTES FROM "THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN:" "The Kutenai are not known to be linguistically related to any other tribe... It may be concluded, therefore, that in at least comparatively early times the Kutenai tribe lost its unity, and the resultant bands spread southward across the narrow divide between the Columbia and the Kootenay and down the later river."
"The reservation Kutenai in the United States have profited even less than most tribes by association with civilization. A more ragged, filthy, idle, and altogether hopeless-looking community of ophlamic and crippled gamblers it would be difficult to find on a reservation. Their degradation is the more regrettable since the Kutenai physiognomy seems to promise much. It is far less heavy and gross than the Plains type or the types of the surrounding plateau area. It is such as one associates with intelligence and character and one cannot escape the feeling that an opportunity was lost when the Kutenai were permitted to sink to their present level."

"Inhabiting a mountainous country dotted with lakes and traversed by long winding rivers, the Kutenai very naturally became expert boatmen. The commoner form of craft was made of pine-bark or spruce-bark laid over a framework of split-fur. It was sharp at bow and stern, of a form still seen among the Kalispel."
"The best native information indicates that prior to the era of the missionaries the Kutenai had only the vaguest conception of the human soul. The religious practices of the Kutenai had to do with the acquisition of supernatural power through the aid of supernatural beings. To them all things were the abode of spirits, one or another of which, if rightly approached, would take pity on a suppliant and become his life-long guardian and helper."
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